Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) ** to ** 1/2
Directed by Simon Wincer. Written by Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams, based on characters created by Paul Hogan. Photography, David Burr. Editing. Terry Blythe. Production design, Leslie Binns. Music, Basil Poledouris. Produced by Lance Hool and Paul Hogan.Cast:Paul Hogan (Mick Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charleton), Jere Burns (Arnan Rothman), Jonathan Banks (Milos Drubnik), Alec Wilson (Jacko), Paul Rodriguez (Diego), Serge Cockburn (Mikey Dundee) and Mike Tyson (himself). A Paramount release. 105 minutes. PG.
There are three familiar "barbies": the barbie doll, the notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie, and Paul Hogan's "let's put another shrimp on the barbie (barbecue)" in his visit-Australia commercials. Hogan's international fame came from his playing Mick Dundee, the likable, laid back, unruffled, quietly macho in the first two "Crocodile Dundee" action movies (1986 and 1988).
For over a dozen years has the world been waiting breathlessly for a third Crocodile Dundee movie? I doubt it, but nonetheless number 3 is a pleasant trifle.
In an Australian outback town, population 20, Mick lives with his significant other Sue Charlton, without the blessing of a formal marriage. (Not to worry. Their status becomes "legal" by the film's end). They have an appealing son, Mikey Dundee. Sue is played by Linda Kozlowski, Hogan's co-star in the earlier "C.D." features.
Mick, once a safari guide and occasional poacher, is now an animal conservationist. Young Mikey states : "My dad says 'Never kill anything unless you're going to eat it.'" It's a lovely family, humorous, gutsy and low-key.
The Down Under opening of the movie has amusing thrills and self-mocking. In its best bit, an almost naked aborigine and Mick are waiting outside a school to drive their kids home. The man speaks mock-solemn words of wisdom of the kind that in some revisionist American westerns are uttered by Native Americans to Caucasians. He is a good laugh-getter, especially when he casually pulls out a cell phone from under his scant outfit.
Back in the USA, Sue's press-tycoon father wants his daughter (a former journalist) to go for a spell to LA. and take over from an editor who has suddenly gone to that Great Newspaper in the Sky. The trio move to California. Sue's main task is to investigate a suspicious film-studio which keeps making flops. You've already guessed that the City of Angels is, sui generis, even more of a jungle than the outback.
The couple, as well as the audience, guesses that the movie producers are phonies and a front for major illegal activities. Mick's opinion is that in America "you import drugs and export guns." But that's not the case here. So Mick sleuths by penetrating the outfit as an extra on their current shoot.
"CD 3" is more flick than motion picture. The core plot has major holes. But this matters little as the South California lifestyle lends itself pleasantly to parodies of traffic, electronic houses, movie folk, muggers, gangsters, Hollywood types, bimbos and such. The humor is often enhanced by Mick's misinterpretations.
The tall tale eventually loses impetus and continuity, yet non-stop silliness does keep the viewers going. This Los Angeles adventure feels like a large office coat-hanger -- an excuse for hanging on it comic bits, humorous details and some occasionally inventive twists and gags. Clichés too, but these are not irritating and do not stem the public's mirth.
Paul Hogan, 13 years older than in his previous movie, has not lost his "strine" accent, his vigor or his likable persona. He has not added weight --and looks amazingly younger than his real age (61). Beautiful Linda Kozlowski, 43, as usual has a smallish part but a charming presence. She must be among the rare actors who have kept their real name. She and Hogan have been married for 11 years, which, by movie-people standards, is worthy of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.
The absence of vulgarities and realistic (or gratuitous) violence makes this movie quite fit for young audiences. For adults, it is forgettable yet entertaining.