Friday, December 23, 2022


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Movie Review: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Utter insanity, thy name is Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.

I’m not entirely sure how someone convinced Shawn Mendes to star as a computer-generated, singing reptile. But thank goodness they did; we’d all been asking for it.

Most of the film’s fun comes from that absurd premise which is the topping to a standard film-base: The Primm family (Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley) have moved to New York City, and their young son, Josh, is struggling to adapt to his new school. How do we remedy that? We give him a singing crocodile named Lyle (Shawn Mendes).

It’s all very Paddington without the foppish, British charm.

But where it lacks in that department, it makes up in spades of this fever-dream, phantasmagorical quality that makes it insane for viewers over 20, but sensical for those under it.

Why wouldn’t the crocodile have a taste for baths, caviar, and great music? It’s that dream-logic, kid’s storybook styling that is Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile’s biggest strength. And of course, as a children’s book, it has that moral heart of: Being an outcast isn’t a bad thing – be you, be unique.

So, after all of that mess of moral signalling, we have a story about Lyle's existence being threatened by the evil neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman). So the Primm's must band together with Lyle's charismatic owner, Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem – yes, he’s in this), to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places and there's nothing wrong with a big singing crocodile with an even bigger personality.

Regardless of the absurdity, there is an impressive feat of technical wizardry on display in Will Speck’s film that reminds of Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the sense, at least, that the actors are interacting with something actually there, if cartoonish, crocodile.

A good bit of family fun for the school holidays.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is showing at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema from December 28

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is absurd – but it’s also great fun for the whole family

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