Sal Maggio: Were these Medieval Times and you, a knight in shining armor, you would have, I have no doubt, slayed the maiden and saved the dragon.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
You know a lot of those family comedy movies you watched as a kid REALLY don’t hold up. And today we’re going to take a look at one of them. I’m guilty of having watched this movie in theatres though I hardly remembered it since then. Well upon watching it again it is honestly terrible. Apparently, it was supposed to be a mobster comedy but Warner Bros saw the success of Snow Dogs the same year and sought to tone it down to a family friendly movie.
The story involves two childhood friends Charlie Carbone (Jerry O’ Connell) and Louis Booker (Anthony Anderson) who are associated with the mafia. After they ruin a delivery of stolen TVs the two are given a second chance by mob leader and Charlie’s stepfather Sal Maggio (Christopher Walken) to have them deliver $50,000 to a contact in Australia. However, when Louis places his jacket on a kangaroo in attempt to take a picture the kangaroo hops off with the money in it. Thus they have to chase after the animal.
So, what exactly is the problem with this movie? Well as much as I like buddy comedy movies the whole thing is just messy, tired, and overall unfunny. The pop culture references are dated (particularly with Kangaroo Jack imitating a rapper), the jokes are too crude mostly involving toilet humor and farting camels, and stereotypical Australians. To be frank I’m not even sure why this movie was even called Kangaroo Jack when the title character has a little over five minutes of screen time. Heck he has less than that not counting the outtakes playing during the credits and most of those minutes are dedicated to…well nothing really. They don’t do anything for the plot, they’re entirely random, and again they’re not even funny.
There a few positive qualities to be found here though. The cinematography does well to capture the beautiful look of Australia. Christopher Walken as Sal and Michael Shannon as his apprentice, Frankie Lombardo do get the occasional laugh in their deliveries of even the most basic lines but you can tell from the writing this is pretty much unintentional and they’re only in the movie for a few short minutes and the other performances don’t do much. Estelle Warren seemed to be phoning it in. Jerry O’ Connell and Anthony Anderson definitely seemed to be trying but there’s only so much they can do to make these two idiots likable.
At the end of the day this all blends in together to make a terrible movie. Its advertising of a talking kangaroo is entirely based on a lie. And honestly, I’m not sure how the original idea of making into a mobster comedy would have turned out but based on Walken and Shannon it would have been far more than what we got. As this movie stands though it is a chore to sit through. It’s comedy is dumb and downright cringeworthy to sit through. Rest assured you will get far more entertainment of just watching Kanga and Roo from Winnie the Pooh than this.