This fish-out-of-water buddy/action-comedy is aimed squarely at undiscriminating 10-year-olds, and that demographic may well enjoy it; kids at press screenings rapped along gleefully with the titular marsupial's big fantasy musical number. Adults, however, may be less captivated, especially those with limited patience for jokes involving camel flatulence. They may also be less-than-amused to discover that, like SNOW DOGS (2002), this is not a talking-animal movie. The beastly blather occurs only in the fantasy sequence, a fact that may disappoint youngsters misled by deceptive trailers and TV ads. Our hero is twenty-something Charlie Carbone (Jerry O'Connell), the stepson of mid-league mob boss Sal Maggio (Christopher Walken, underused but still amusing). A flashback shows that young Charlie's life was saved by Louis Booker (Anthony Anderson); Charlie is, as a result, unflaggingly loyal to his ever-on-the-make pal. A cut to the present reveals the now grown (which is by no means to say mature) friends accidentally leading the Feds to one of Sal's many warehouses filled with stolen goods. Sal is, needless to say, not pleased but offers the pair a chance to redeem themselves: They're to fly to Australia with a mysterious package (which they're forbidden to open, so of course they do) and deliver it to an equally mysterious Mr. Smith (Marton Csokas). What they don't know is that Mr. Smith is a mob contract killer, and the $50,000 they're carrying is his fee. Sal has set up Charlie and Louis as bagmen for their own execution. The inevitable wacky complications begin to ensue after the hapless duo arrive in the outback, where they accidentally run down a kangaroo who (somewhat implausibly) purloins the package. This event sets in motion the rest of the plot, essentially one long chase occasionally interrupted by Jessie (model-turned-actress Estella Warren), a wildlife expert with whom Charlie rather predictably falls in love. To be fair, the computer-generated kangaroo is good for a laugh or two, and there are a couple of inside jokes about other Australian-themed films (hint: one involves dingos eating babies). Dumb as all this may be, director David McNally mostly keeps things moving, so it never becomes completely boring. But it's hard not to wonder whether most of the principal actors shouldn't start thinking seriously about switching agents.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: PG
- Review: This fish-out-of-water buddy/action-comedy is aimed squarely at undiscriminating 10-year-olds, and that demographic may well enjoy it; kids at press screenings rapped along gleefully with the titular marsupial's big fantasy musical number. Adults, however,… (more)