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Kangaroo Jack (2003)

Dumbing down, Down Under

Directed by:

David McNally

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

Country: Australia

This stereotype-scattered prance through the Aussie outback perhaps proves once and for all that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is the undisputed king of dumbing-down. Mind you, not a million miles behind him in the race to lose all remaining credibility is Christopher Walken, whose inexplicable acceptance of a role in this piece of overly-glossed trash more than succeeds in cancelling out his wonderful performance in “Catch Me If You Can”.

I'll try not to get too hung up on Walken's thankfully small part in all of this – most of his clumsily-written lines don't make a great deal of sense anyway. The screen-huggers we have to put up with for most of the time instead are Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson, who've been sent Down Under by the local mobster (Walken, of course) to hand over a bundle of cash to a greasy Aussie hit-man (Marton Csokas).

It seems like a simple enough task, but things go badly wrong for the bungling buddies when the cash is half-inched by a kangaroo – with not-particularly-hilarious consequences. A passing buxom blonde (Estella Warren) is recruited to help out, and bizarrely ends up snogging the gormless O'Connell in probably the most cringe-worthy and ill-conceived romance scene of the year.

Anderson was entertaining in “Barbershop” and one of the few good points of the appalling “Cradle 2 The Grave”, but is completely unfunny in this abysmally-written romp. O'Connell, meanwhile, displays a complete dearth of comedy timing, to the extent that you wish he'd just quietly go away and take this crappy film with him. The special effects used to bring the kangaroo to life are decent, but what is the point when all our furry friend can do is make an audience recoil in horror with its attempts at humorous Dr Evil impressions? That's right, there are moments in the movie when it actually talks. Says it all, really.

It's Got: A decent soundtrack, featuring the requisite "Down Under" by Men at Work.

It Needs: To finish on a high – preferably after the "Superman" parody five minutes in.

Alternatives:

Crocodile Dundee, MUCH better)

Summary

Diabolical CGI-assisted slapstick buddy comedy.

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