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'Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles'

'Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles' is surprisingly charming

Friday, April 20, 2001

By Glenn Whipp, os Angeles Daily News

It has been 13 years since Paul Hogan's Crocodile Dundee has taken a walk-about in movie theaters and, chances are, you probably haven't been staying awake at night wondering what Australia's favorite reptile wrestler has been doing. That's why "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles," the third installment in the Aussie franchise, seems like the cinematic equivalent of Michael Bolton remaking an Otis Redding song. Totally unnecessary.

'Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles'

RATING: PG for language and brief violence.

STARRING: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski.

DIRECTOR: Simon Wincer.

WEB SITE: www.crocodile



What's remarkable, though, is that Mick Dundee actually feels like a breath of fresh air in a time when movie comedies are awash in bodily fluids. Sure, this "Dundee" is more or less the same movie as its predecessors, which means it's more formulaic and less funny. But despite its derivativeness and predictability, the film will likely please family-minded audiences looking for nothing more than an amiable, good-hearted time at the movies.

The film's plot is really just a flimsy setup to put Dundee in another fish-out-of-water setting and provide Hogan with room to work his easygoing charm. An early prologue set in Australia establishes that Dundee still hunts crocodiles, although he has to catch them alive now due to their protected status. Seeing Dundee and his partner, Jacko (Alec Wilson), accomplish this is one of the film's highlights. (Dundee's original partner, Wally, was played by actor John Meillon, who died in 1989.)

Dundee's fetching other partner, Sue (Hogan's wife, Linda Kozlowski), is summoned to Los Angeles to fill in at the bureau office of her father's newspaper after a reporter mysteriously dies. Dundee tags along, as does their 9-year-old son, Mikey (cute newcomer Serge Cockburn). Soon, the family is tangled up in shady studio business, conveniently filmed at the Paramount Pictures lot.

It's all pretty corny, as Dundee strides through a parade of Los Angeles cliches, ranging from traffic and earthquake jokes to George Hamilton touting coffee enemas. There's a fun scene where Dundee, as he did in the first movie, dispatches would-be attackers. ("This is a city on wheels," he notes. "They don't even get out of the car to mug you.")

"Dundee in Los Angeles" won't come close to making the kind of cash the first two movies took in. It probably won't even inspire you to throw a shrimp on the barbie. The nostalgia it produces isn't so much for the "Crocodile" series as it is for a time when movie comedies could charm you without having to constantly pull down their pants.

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