Picks and Pans Review: Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
This corny comedy takes as a given that everything its leathery leading man does is both charming and amusing—be it stopping freeway traffic to rescue a skunk or chugging a can of Foster's in the bathtub. It ain't necessarily so.
In his third crack at playing reptile hunter Mick "Crocodile" Dundee, Hogan revisits the outdoorsman-in-the-city formula that proved such a fire starter at the box office in the latter 1980s. Time, though, has passed our hero by, both in the story itself (it's now illegal for him to kill crocs) and as a laugh-getter. When we first see Hogan in Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, he has little more to do than pose manfully for tourists in the Australian Outback. In a reverse Survivor move, he happily relocates from the bush to hazard-strewn L.A. when his retired reporter girlfriend (Kozlowski, a blonde blank) trades housekeeping for a temporary assignment there. While Dundee is touring the town with their 9-year-old son, she is digging up dirt on a suspicious movie company. Soon Dundee joins the investigation and, working as an extra, uncovers nefarious goings-on.
Lethargically directed by fellow Aussie Simon Wincer (reteaming with Hogan after 1994's Lightning Jack), the movie has a leisurely pace and predictable plot. Bits from earlier Crocodiles are recycled, including Dundee showing muggers who's boss ("No wonder they call it the city on wheels," he says after being accosted by thieves, "they don't even get out of their car to mug you"). Even that which is new feels familiar, as when Dundee is befuddled by the whirlpool features of a fancy bathtub, a scene harking back to the first Crocodile's spouting bidet.
Hogan ambles through all this with pleasant good humor. As Paul Rodriguez, playing a fellow extra, aptly puts it, "He's a hell of a nice guy. Can't act for s—, but he's probably going to end up with his own sitcom." (PG)
Bottom Line: Blunder from Down Under