Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles

(Simon Wincer, USA/Australia, 2001)


This third instalment in Paul Hogan's Crocodile Dundee series gives new meaning to the word lame.

What was, first time around, a fresh, funny blast of nationalist and populist sentiment took a dive in the 1988 sequel. Thirteen years later, the decline in quality is total.

Mick Dundee (Hogan) is first encountered clowning around in the outback with his clueless mates, his supposedly sophisticated partner, Sue (Linda Kozlowski), and their gormless son, Mikey (Serge Cockburn). Then the family unit is transplanted to Los Angeles, where Dundee replays his days as a wily innocent in a big, glitzy, savage city.

The gags, like the pathetic mystery-action plot that props them up, unfold in seeming slow motion. Scenes of Sue sitting at a desk swapping reams of banal exposition with her assistant, Jean (Aida Turturro), provide an excellent lesson in how not to make a movie.

The combination of unfunny comedy and apparently topical events involving art theft in the former Yugoslavia is jaw-droppingly awful.

Charm has not altogether deserted Hoges as a performer, even when he's running through the same old routines about knives, thugs, wild beasts and crocodiles. But padding the dead air around him with a witless outback pal, Diego (Paul Rodriguez), and a parade of young, trim, salivating women doesn't help matters. Director Simon Wincer (Free Willy, 1993) is unable to ameliorate any of the dreariness.

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles resembles nothing so much as one of those creaky telemovie specials that revisit a previously successful show from long ago – an ambience reinforced by pointless cameos from Mike Tyson and George Hamilton. Uneasy jokes about the direness of Part 3 sequels and Dundee as a fixture of the tourist industry signal extreme desperation.

Not since Ghostbusters 2 (1989) have I endured a sequel quite as dispiriting as this.

© Adrian Martin April 2001

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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