|'Crocodile' Dundee in Los Angeles
More than a dozen years after star Paul Hogan said "Never, again,"
he's donned his signature Akubara hat and leather vest and once again
brought to life his signature character of Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee. Back
in 1986, before Australia became chic, the first 'Crocodile' Dundee, a
rather sweet and old-fashioned "fish out of water" comedy, became a
worldwide hit. The sequel followed rather quickly and then Hogan
attempted to capitalize on his fame by directing and/or starring in
handful of other films, but none achieved the box-office take of his
first role. Still, Hogan attempted to resist the idea of dusting off Mick
Dundee, but eventually he relented. Well, undoubtedly there will be
those who wished he hadn't and there'll be those who are happy to
welcome back an old friend.
The third film in the series is 'Crocodile' Dundee in Los Angeles,
and although the screenplay is credited to "Married...With Children"
scribes Eric Abrams and Matthew Berry, it has the hallmarks of Hogan's
work. (He reportedly rewrote the script entirely.) The very flimsy story
has Mick, his longtime girlfriend Sue (Linda Kozlowski, who is also the
off-screen Mrs. Hogan) and their son Mikey (Serge Cockburn) living happily
in a tiny town near the Outback. The quintessential Aussie, Mick Dundee
is in his element, hunting crocs and putting on a show for the tourists.
Sue gets a job offer with her father's newspaper in Los Angeles and soon
the family is heading to Beverly Hills. (Perhaps this is an unconscious nod
to the long-running TV sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies", which was also
about simple, rural folks settling in the big city.) Sue is replacing a
reporter who died under mysterious circumstances while investigating
a movie production company whose owners are clearly up to no good.
Mick, of course, volunteers to help in the investigation and lands a job
as an extra on a movie set, before his capabilities with animals lands
him a promotion. Digging into the goings on, he discovers the dirty
deeds and sets out to make things right. (And if you doubt that things
won't turn out all right, you haven't seen any of the other Dundee movies.)
One of the pleasures of the series is that there's a somewhat
comforting predictability to the humor. Hogan's alter ego is a man not
of the present. He's a throwback to the old-fashioned who obviously
prefers the simpler life and times when men were men. Indeed, this
Australian brand of machismo is one of the character's most appealing
qualities, and Hogan invokes it to good effect. It's only a shame that
he couldn't have come up with a slightly more coherent screenplay.
Like the first two films, 'Crocodile' Dundee in Los Angeles is more of a
series of vignettes strung together. The retro quality can only carry
so far, and it isn't too long before the film bogs down under its own
Hogan, as always, is perfectly cast in the title role. He also shares
a nice rapport with Cockburn, the towheaded youngster playing his son.
Kozlowski, however, seems muted. She has less to do in this entry in
the series and is overshadowed. As the prime villains, TV stars Jere
Burns and Jonathan Banks do their best with sketchily written roles.
There is an amusing, if out of left field, cameo by Mike Tyson, a nice
bit from Paul Rodriguez and a misfire from George Hamilton. Director
Simon Wincer (who won an Emmy for his work on "Lonesome Dove"
and previously worked with Hogan on the 1994 ill-fated Western Lightning
Jack) seems merely to be going through the motions here. There's
undoubtedly a built-in audience for 'Crocodile' Dundee in Los Angeles
and that's all well and good. I just wish that he had returned in a more
MPAA Rating: PG (for some language and brief violence)
|© 2008 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.