Everybody involved in Kangaroo Jack should be roasted on the barbie, as the Aussies say. Although the movie boasts some bonzer footage of Australia’s outback, plus a trio of farting camels, Kangaroo is a boring, brainless, bodgy waste of money. Worse, Kangaroo is the basest kind of movie rip-off–one aimed at kids.
It’s possible to understand how a movie can turn out not worth a zack — the script gets desiccated by too many executive producers, the actors playing passionate lovers hate one another on sight, the wild animals keep running away — those unpredictable come-a-gutsers that make filmmaking such a chocka adventure. What’s not understandable is how a cost-big-bikkies movie-marketing team can see a finished product and then deliberately deceive the paying public with a publicity campaign advertising something totally unlike the film itself. For the record, this is not a movie for kids. The only reason it has a PG rating is because the onscreen lovers are too drongo to actually have a naughty, and the bad blokes don’t use swear words when they threaten to murder the heroes.
I’m grown up enough to admit I went to this movie because I wanted to see talking kangaroos. Well, the boomer talks in only one scene, and that’s a dream sequence, so forget all that hilarious talking ‘roo stuff the previews promise. Dyan Cannon is supposed to be in this movie and I was dying to see if she has held up as well as good ol’ Banger Sisters sheilas Goldie and Suzie. No way to find that out; the only part of Dyan Cannon you see in this entire movie is a brief glimpse of her thighs as she bends over sometime in the story’s distant past. You don’t even see her face! I was equally curious to see Christopher Walken’s latest performance because he was so darn fantastic in the recent hit Catch Me If You Can. (If he doesn’t get an Oscar for that performance, I’m going to break down and weep.) But I could have gone my entire life without seeing Walken in Kangaroo as a repulsive, aging Brooklyn mobster with a vocabulary problem who decides to put his no-hoper stepson down under, literally.
The stepson, played by Jerry O’Connell (Tom Cats), is pals with Anthony Anderson (Barbershop ), who saved his life on a beach when they were kids. Lifetime cobbers now, get it? The two galahs go to Australia to deliver $50,000 of stepdad’s money, which they promptly lose to a kangaroo, who then goes walkabout all over the wild, dry vastness of Australia. Helping them find the giant marsupial in the red jacket is drop-dead gorgeous Estella Warren (Driven ), an American greenie trying to re-populate the continent with snout-nosed rabbits. Mongrels in shiny suits, cops disguised as Aboriginal tour guides, drunken pilots, knives, guns, betrayal, attempted murder (all great kid fare, eh?) and then — hooley dooley — the hero has an insight about the meaning of friendship!
Oh, cranky, cranky. I warned you, mates; so don’t go spit the dummy and lair it up if you decide to see this bull-dust movie anyway.