Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Ahhh... the lovely Ms. DuPont has weighed in with her look at a film that I can't believe actually exists. In fact, I won't believe it exists. I refuse. I'm going to pretend that this is all a filthy practical joke on the part of Paramount, and maybe it'll all just go away. Here's one of the prime candidates on my list of Potential Future Wives For An Evil Genius to fill you in on all the painful details...
Hullo, Harry et al. I've used a version of the following introductory sentence in a prior review, and I have no doubt I'll use a version of it again someday. Ready? Here goes:
I need to write up "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" very quickly, before I forget I even saw it.
TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT 'CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES' THAT YOU DIDN'T ASK, QUESTIONS WHICH ARE NEVERTHELESS ANSWERED
1. They actually MADE a "Crocodile Dundee 3"? For the love of St. Germain, WHY?
Good question. I suspect a low production budget (the film is largely set on a *studio backlot*, for pity's sake), combined with potentially strong overseas revenues and, hell, maybe even those Subaru Outback commercials, just sort of magically conflated -- and thus Paul Hogan found himself with yet another movie deal.
2. Is "Croc 3" just unbelievably horrible?
Well, with all due respect to the lacerating opinions expressed earlier on this site by the talented Capone, I personally couldn't muster the strength (or perhaps the interest) to hate this movie.
The screening I attended was sponsored by an adult-contemporary radio station, and the audience was filled with what I suppose were "contemporary adults," whatever those are. And they LOVED it. There was, I kid you not, applause at the end, and a jovial theatre vibe throughout. Which made something abundantly clear to me: "Croc 3" really is adult-contemporary filmmaking -- inoffensive, genial, never terribly exciting, never maddening, and aimed so broadly that you can't really get around to hating it. It's like that "Believe" song by Cher -- it's background noise, filler between moments of genuinely positive or negative cinematic passion. Which I suppose is, to hard-core geeks who read AICN, unbelievably horrible. But probably not to their parents. So.
3. Who directed it?
Simon Wincer -- the man who helmed several "Young Indiana Jones" episodes, "Phar Lap," "D.A.R.Y.L." (which they're currently remaking under the working title "A.I." -- kidding!), "Quigley Down Under," "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man," "Free Willy," and, yes, "Operation Dumbo Drop." Oh, and "The Phantom." Suffice to say he's been working in TV a lot lately.
4. So the direction is, ahm, "workmanlike"?
It's utterly inoffensive, with a light touch.
5. What did you think of "Crocodile Dundee" and "Crocodile Dundee 2"?
I'll freely admit I enjoyed the first installment. I found Hogan refreshingly un-PC during an increasingly neurasthenic 1980s -- an uncomplicated man's man who liked to drink and make friends with the unpretentious. That said, Mick Dundee's particular brand of manliness looks mildly silly in hindsight, like a old beer commercial. (As my sister Shelley DuPont-Livesly put it the other day, "In the '80s, Mick Dundee looked manly. In the '90s, in that vest, he looked like rough trade.")
The sequel was of course execrable -- layering some TV-movieish drug-lord plotline over the proceedings in a desperate attempt to inject drama when no fish-out-of-water jokes were close at hand. (To this day, my brother Maximillian and I greet each other with the drug-lord character's immortally bad line: "Who is this ... Meek Dun-DEE?")
6. What does Max have to say about "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles"?
He calls it "Crock Dung 3."
7. What's the story?
Mick Dundee and his gal-pal Sue (Linda Kozlowski) -- apparently fully recovered from "Croc 2"'s manhunt-in-the-Outback ordeal and unconcerned about drug-cartel retribution -- live in common law with their towheaded son in that little Australian town Mick calls home. (In the movie, the town's become a tourist trap, which is of course the fault of movies LIKE "Crocodile Dundee." There's a mild self-referential streak running throughout the film.)
Sue is called to Los Angeles to fill in for a murdered reporter who was investigating a shady upstart movie company (which operates, despite its shadiness, on the Paramount lot, conveniently enough). To help Sue's investigation, Mick gets a job on a film set. Wackiness with animals, silly chases, and semi-amusing culture clashes ensue.
8. Oo. We haven't seen Linda Kozlowski onscreen since 1996! How's she looking these days?
Taxidermied. Why can't these actresses just allow themselves to age gracefully? It's working for Emma Thompson.
9. Emma Thompson?
Did you SEE "Wit"? She looked like freakin' Powder during the last half, and she was STILL a goddess! That HBO telefilm was the best thing Mike Nichols has made in 20 years; I can't BELIEVE it wasn't released theatrically.
10. So let me guess: In "Crock Dung 3," there's a wacky chase through the studio lot, right?
11. And Mick Dundee drives a Subaru Outback?
Indeed he does.
12. And the towheaded son is annoying as all get-out?
No, actually he's genial and inoffensive. Sigh.
13. So what's good?
I wouldn't go so far as to call the following points "good," but let's just say they're "not bad": First off, there's a light, uncomplicated and above-all consistent tone throughout -- no easy feat when the last installment in the series was made 13 years ago. Second, everybody underplays. Third ... well ... your parents will probably like it. Oh, and I'm chagrined to admit I kind of enjoyed the fellow who play's Mick's croc-hunting buddy: He came off like a young, Australian version of Randall 'Tex" Cobb, sort of, and the film picks up EVER so slightly when he comes to L.A. to serve as the kid's nanny. And Hogan is remarkably low-key and well-preserved -- he's his own Madame Toussaud wax dummy, only made of leather.
Note the large number of qualifiers in the above paragraph.
14. What's not so good?
Paul Rodriguez and Aida Turturro are utterly wasted in supporting roles as an extra and a fellow reporter, respectively. (Turturro looks *aggressively* uncomfortable, as if she didn't fit in her clothes; she's a relatively high-performance engine trying to get to 75 while stuck in first gear.) There's a wacky chase through a studio lot. There's also some pretty damned sloppy slapstick comedy. And, as with "Croc 2," the crime story is annoying filler -- though not nearly as annoying as it was in 1988. And finally there's just the overall TV-ish tiredness of the whole concept -- which I still, for the life of me, cannot manage to get angry about.
15. You're not going to make it to 20 questions, are you?
No. No, I'm not.