You would think that a movie called “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” would just about make itself work. It starts with two strong assets: an engaging character already well known and fondly remembered from two previous movies and a city that is a big, juicy target for satire. But they are lost in the swamp of a dumb script and lackluster direction.
The story begins in the Australian outback, as Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan) and his ladylove, Sue (Linda Kozlowski) are living in unmarried bliss with their son Mikey. But Sue is called to Los Angeles to take over a paper in her father’s newspaper empire when an editor is killed in an automobile accident. We have a few scenes of Mick, Mikey, and fellow-croc-catcher Joe getting a kick out of the weirdness of Hollywood (George Hamilton recommends a coffee enema and Mike Tyson recommends meditation, Mick and Mikey go on a tram tour of a studio back lot and Mick stabs a fake anaconda). There are jokes that are older than the 61-year-old Hogan. Do we really need a “thought a skunk was a cat” joke? And there is some silliness about a movie studio that intentionally makes terrible movies like “Lethal Agent III.” I had hopes for a moment there of some “Producers-“like parody of shlocky movies, but what we got instead was a chase scene that, come to think of it, might be an outtake from one of those “Lethal Agent” movies after all. The talented Jere Burns is wasted as a generic bad guy.
All of this would be pretty harmless, except for some aspects of the movie that are affirmatively annoying. One is the language, very strong for a PG movie, with a number of swear words and some “nice ass” remarks that are supposed to be charming or funny and fail at both. Another is the truly shocking plastic surgery on the main characters. Hogan, who is 61, has just had some of the crags removed. But Kozlowski has that botox-mask look, her features as frozen and sandblasted as one of the heads on Easter Island. Even though she is only called upon to have one expression — bemused adoration – through most of the movie, it is more than those features can be called upon to produce.
Finally, the most annoying aspect of the movie is that it is not enough for Sue to adore Mick; everyone else must, too. Every woman who comes into contact with a Real Man from the Outback all but swoons, until the movie is more like a love letter than a comedy.
Parents should know that in addition to the strong language mentioned above, an important element of the plot is that Sue and Mick are not married and have a son together. Characters smoke and drink. Characters are in peril, including guns, knives, and fierce animals, though it does not get too intense. There are a couple of jump-out-at-you surprises that may upset younger kids.
Families who see this movie should talk about how people in families support each other’s careers and about how children learn to think about what they might do when they grow up. They might want to look up Los Angeles and the Outback on a map and talk about what they might like to see if they are able to visit.
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the other “Crocodile Dundee” movies, especially the first (some mature material).