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Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles

tn_crocdundee3
chapter 1

2001posterreleased April 20th, 2001

This is gonna surprise the shit out of you when I tell you this, but CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES is what they call a fish-out-of-water comedy. The fish is Crocodile Dundee, the water is Australia, the place outside of the water is Los Angeles. Actually Dundee might be more of an amphibian, he’s somewhat familiar with L.A. and is able to show his son and his pal around and teach them some things about the urban American way of life. But also he’s from the outback or whatever so he has lots of misunderstandings that lead to clotheslining people or stabbing things like they do constantly in Australia.

I don’t know about other parts of the world, but the character of “Crocodile Dundee” is kind of a joke here. The first movie was hugely popular when it came out in ’86, and became one of the main images or stereotypes that Americans have about Australia. This has been a point of contention between Australian and non Australian characters in TROPIC THUNDER and WOLF CREEK, but I’m sure in real life everybody’s pretty much in agreement. I’m guessing Crocodile Dundee isn’t that much more of a “national hero” in Australia than Mahoney from POLICE ACADEMY is here.

mp_dundee3Like so many things that get hugely popular the novelty faded away and people forgot what it was they liked about the movie and just remembered that it was a thing from Australia in the ’80s. Now in our minds it’s more of a reference or an answer to a trivia question than a movie. It’s somewhere closer to “Where’s the beef?” than to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in the collective unconscious. We scoff at it without really knowing why.

So it was kind of weird when they came out with a part 3 in 2001. It’s almost like if they tried to complete the GODS MUST BE CRAZY trilogy. I don’t think a whole lot of people were dying to find out what sort of shenanigans Paul Hogan’s crocodile hunter character would get into on the American west coast. This was not exactly an explosive beginning to the summer movie season, in my opinion.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe most people kept up with the Crocodile Dundee saga and re-watched them bi-annually to keep them fresh on their brains. Personally I hadn’t thought about the Dundeeverse since the ’80s. I forgot that he had a lady friend named Sue (Linda Kozlowski) who was a journalist or something. In this one they’re not married but still together with a son named Mikey (Serge Cockburn). Sue has to go to L.A. to look after her father’s newspaper, so Mick leaves the outback tour business behind to accompany his girl and look after the kid.

If I understood correctly there was a reporter who died, nothing suspicious but when Sue takes over the story he was working on, a profile of an independent movie producer working on the Paramount lot, she figures out something is fishy. This guy’s been producing the LETHAL AGENT trilogy of films starring Jean-Paul Chagal, but they’re not very popular, so how does he have the money to keep making sequels. “I’m sure it’s an elaborate front for something,” she says. “But what?” So Mick decides to go undercover as an extra. (In part 4 I hope they investigate the mystery of who watches new Eddie Murphy comedies.)

In case you’re thinking the movie producer might be innocent, you should know he’s played by Jere Burns, this creepy guy from ‘Justified’:

jereburns

But the villainous plot is treated with the gravity of an episode of CHiPs. It’s mostly a setup for some wackiness. Mick befriends Paul Rodriguez (BLOOD WORK) as a veteran extra who teaches him not to look into the camera. More importantly he befriends a monkey who gets him promoted to monkey wrangler. When he figures out that the “elaborate front” involves stolen paintings the bad guy catches him snooping around and asks “How would the monkey guy know about the paintings?”

I guess one of the reasons they’d want to resurrect the series would be to have Mick react to things that weren’t around 13 years ago when they did part 2. They do that, but for 2001 the movie seems a little behind the times with its Seagal/Van Damme action hero, movies based on LETHAL WEAPON and TWISTER, and joke about The Clapper. They do have a flat screen TV and a remote control that must really be broken considering the amount of trouble it causes Mick.

One of the better jokes is about cell phones: back in Australia an aboriginal warrior in full native getup is talking shit to Mick and then answers his cell phone. Mick says, “I think we just found out which one of us is the white man.”

The “Hollywood is crazy” jokes are pretty stupid and obvious. George Hamilton cameos to tell Mick about the magic of coffee enemas. It’s kind of a weird joke because the idea seems to be “just think how a no-nonsense tough guy from the outback would react to people squirting coffee up their butts,” but of course you don’t have to be Crocodile Dundee to think that’s a crazy thing to do. In my opinion they didn’t have to go to another continent to find somebody to react to that one.

Of course a lowbrow comedy taking place in Hollywood is gonna have one of those wacky studio tour sequences. This is a Paramount movie so they can’t use the famous Universal JAWS ride or PSYCHO house (which I think were in JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK later in the summer). They have a fake Paramount that’s working on movies like TORNADO HUNTERS II and JUNGLE TREK II. It’s hard for me to accept that the tour would have a ride as stupid as the jungle ride depicted here or that Mick would be stupid enough to stab an animatronic snake in the head. But given that both of these things would happen I’d like to see him have to deal with security instead of comical expressions from the flabbergasted tour guide.

And hey, why not some professional tension between tour guides? Mick does this for a living too, maybe he should resent this cheeseball’s approach. I’d like to see that, anyway. But maybe this is not the time or place for the gritty tour guide movie the world has been waiting for.

If I had to choose a part of the movie that was mildly amusing in its stupidity I guess I would go for the scene where Mick and son cause a massive traffic jam and then bomb scare because they stop in the middle of the freeway to help a skunk. It’s kind of cute that the humor comes out of the Australian respect for wildlife and the characters naively assuming that it’s shared by Americans. Mick cluelessly waves to the backed up commuters to assure them that the animal is safe.

In one scene Mick is shown to not understand Picasso, thinking his painting was done by a kid. This is supposed to show that he’s a regular guy, as opposed to in TITANIC where not understanding Picasso was used to show that Billy Zane’s character was a dickhead.

This is a shitty half-assed comedy not worthy of the big screen, but I can say one nice thing about it. I was surprised that I found myself still considering Crocodile Dundee a likable character. It brought me back to 1986 and remembering why the first movie was enjoyable at that time. Not that I want to watch it again or anything, but I’m just saying I like Paul Hogan and his analog-man-in-a-digital-world or whatever you want to call him.

This was directed by Simon Wincer. He didn’t have anything to do with the other ones but is a successful middlebrow Australian director known to most for FREE WILLY and to me for THE PHANTOM.

* * *

legacy: none

datedness: They show a Tower Records (no longer in business). They use some music that sounds like C+C Music Factory or some shit. They talk about NYPD Blue alot – remember when that was a big deal show? There’s a joke about a cow flying in a tornado, a TWISTER reference that probly won’t stay in our collective conscious for too much longer in my opinion.

2001-2011 connections: This has an unexpected connection to the big comedy sequel of this summer, THE HANGOVER II: a cameo by Mike Tyson. The HANGOVER movies exaggerate Tyson’s image as a crazy maniac. CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES takes the opposite approach, having Mick and Mikey meet Tyson while he’s meditating in Will Rogers Memorial Park. They’re impressed by his easygoing nature, not realizing that he bit part of Evander Holyfield’s ear off 4 years earlier.

And remember how Mel Gibson was gonna do a cameo in HANGOVER II to take advantage of his own crazy reputation? Well, he’s not in DUNDEE 3, but there’s a scene at a Hollywood party where Mick tells people stories that they think are about Gibson’s crazy antics back home. This was years before Gibson was publicly getting into trouble with alcoholism and bigotry, so it’s a coincidence.

Another minor connection to this summer: the kid loves wrestling and yells “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” at one point, a reference to Mr. Dwayne Johnson, star of this summer’s FAST FIVE.

Would they make a movie like this in 2011? I don’t think so, but then I wouldn’t think they would’ve made it in 2001 either.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

55 Responses to “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles”

  1. Holy moly, the original one was nominated for a screenplay Oscar? Wow. I never sat this one but for some reason my parents were OBSESSED with these movies and saw every one in the theater.

  2. Ha! I was just thinking about this movie the other day. I was at a Wendy’s with some friends and I asked everyone if they remembered the TV spots for Crocodile Dundee 3 where there was a really shitty joke where Mick is at the drive thru of a Wendy’s and calls the person working there Wendy!! Nobody remembered.

  3. I never saw this one (obviously) but I remember CROCODILE DUNDEE II as being kind of alright. It’s the same ol’ schtick for most of it, but then it turns into an action movie for the last third, with Mick stalking and ambushing gangsters aborigine-style out in the Outback. It got kind of violent and had a sort of trippy vibe, as I recall. Paul Hogan probably should have segued into straight-to-video action roles at some point. I think he could have pulled them off.

  4. ThomasCrown442

    June 7th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Lightning Jack was kind of a Paul Hogan action comedy right?

  5. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 7th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Crocodile Dundee 2 started with Dundee fishing in New York harbour with dynamite. I think the water cops show up and have a joke with him about his crazy ways too. It would be interesting to see what would happen to a foreign person throwing explosives around New York after 9/11.

  6. Majestyk – You make a good point, Hogan could’ve/should’ve started doing DTV action roles. Actually, maybe what he really needs is a good villainous role, his own WOLF CREEK. He’s been doing the tough-but-kind schtick for years, and I wonder how good he’d be if just started playing mean bastards.

  7. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 7th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Also Jere Burns from Justified as the producer, that must be the Dixie Mafia up to no good again. I’m hoping they will be a more prominent feature in season three of Justified.

  8. This movie was a plot point in a very good episode of How I Met Your Mother. How I Met Your Mother is awesome.

  9. I got a chuckle out of the idea that Australians have some kind of respect for wildlife.

  10. I just wanted to say something not very nice about HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (The sitcom. I didn’t meet any of your mother’s, I think. ) but then I thought: “Hey, it’s not so bad. At least it’s not THE BIG BANG THEORY!”)

    I remember how we watched in school a clip of DUNDEE 2, where some of the drug dealers were threatening someone. This was to teach us students about filmmaking and how stereotypes (here: ugly looking Columbians) are used to portray pro- and antagonists.

    That’s all.

    I still think that “THIS is a knife” is pretty funny though.

  11. Could you really bring a fucking machete like that on a plane in 1986? Nowadays they make you trim your fingernails just in case.

    Topical!

  12. I’m sure you could have put it in your checked in baggage, just not in the carry on.

  13. Dude, if you think that knife ever left his person, you don’t know Crocodile Dundee.

  14. Vern – If I remember right, a reason why this movie happened was because at that time Hogan did those TV ads* for Subaru (“So this is Bungee Jumping? What’s the rope for?”) and apparently Paramount wanted to capitalize on that. Why they made this a theatrical release and not a Direct to DVD, I don’t know.

    Anyway I saw this on TV I think years ago, it was alright. Mild diversion, nothing more. I don’t remember much about it.

    *=Which is funny because that first movie got made because he did the same schtick back in the early 80s for Australia’s tourist board in TV ads that ran in America, and Paramount was sold on it by them.

  15. Yahoo Serious Festival

  16. Too little attention was paid to Jacko, the thinking man’s Crocodile Dundee:

    http://www.retroist.com/2010/01/12/the-energizer-oi/

  17. It’s a shame Steve Irwin died, as after he got his own film made, the natural progression would be a team up/versus movie called CROCODILE DUNDEE HUNTER. I’ve not seen this, and don’t really have any compulsion to, but I don’t think the earlier films were too bad. Mick wasn’t as cartoony. Sure, he was a fish out of water character, but he also had his more serious moments, like when talking about his old wife who left him, how he reacted to apparent rejection by starting to go on Walkabout, and how generally capable he was in the outback and how he was still in touch with his aborigine connections.

  18. I thought that one scene in the first movie about the TV was quite clever.

  19. I remember being the only guy in the world who liked CD2. That is all.

    (Sorry, I’ve been busy lately, not much time to post, not much stuff to post about.)

    Vern, please review “Juggernaut”. the one with Richard Harris, not the one that is Vinnie Jones.

  20. I watched the original Crocodile Dundee on tv not too long ago, it’s a pretty good movie

    the best thing about it though is Linda Kozlowski’s amazing ass in that thong leotard thing

  21. Wait what? The plot of Crocodile Dundee 3 is “why do they keep making sequels to this unpopular film – must be a tax dodge or something”?!?!

    That is ALL KINDS of meta.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/01/us-hogan-idUSTRE68010N20100901

  22. Paul, I never fucking heard of Juggernaut, and the more you bring it up the less I’ve heard of it.

  23. I saw this at a back-to-back matinee with FREDDY GOT FINGERED the Friday they both opened. But that’s one of the only things I remember about it.

  24. I always thought the best scenes in the original were where he gets the guy to inhale steamed cocaine like it was Vick’s Vapo Rub and the scene where the woman goes to take a picture of the aboriginal friend. Something like: “You can’t do that.” “Oh, you think it will steal your soul.” “No, your lens cap is on.”

  25. “Mr. Majestyk
    June 7th, 2011 at 3:36 pm
    Dude, if you think that knife ever left his person, you don’t know Crocodile Dundee.”

    HAHAHAHAHA! Damn straight. Crocodile Dundee is awesome. That is all.

  26. I hate to say it, but I kinda enjoy all 3 of these movies in a weird sort of way. If I recall, I actually saw this one in theaters back when it came out. They’re fun, harmless family comedies, kinda like the Rowan Atkinson movies.

  27. The fact that she went to LA to save a newspaper makes it irrelevant in 2011.

    Also, Crocodile Dundee in L.A. was the first set visit I ever went on when I was starting out in journalism. It was the Venice beach scene, and the extra on roller blades was also the daughter on Coach. I thought that was big time.

  28. bullet3 – a family comedy with a woman’s ass in a thong?

  29. “Who ees thees… Meeck Dundee?”

  30. Who is the next Paul Hogan? (Does this question make sense? Like asking, “Who is the next Arnold?”)

  31. I’ve always liked Paul Hogan and his Dundee movies, but in all fairness they could have made those movies about a cool dude from just about any country outside of the USA. He could have been a African, an Irishman or a Norwegian. I mean, they don’t even use all the stereotypes about Australians in the Dundee movies (and I hope there’s an Australian out there who can back me up on this, or bite my head off if he’s politically correct). If Mick Dundee had been a proper Australian he would have turned up in a worn out wifebeater, clutching a six pack of Foster’s or Four X, and basically picked a fight with everybody. Come to think of it, Donk from the two first movies would have been the perfect lead!

  32. I heard that literally no Australian drinks Fosters

  33. VERN:

    http://blackholereviews.blogspot.com/2008/08/juggernaut-1974-very-british-disaster.html

    This was the British film that was regarded at the time as the equal to “The Poseidon Adventure” in terms of ship-based disaster movies. It really is that good and still stands the test of time.

    The setup is simple: there are seven bombs on a boat. If enough of them go off, the boat sinks. The bureaucrats in London won’t allow the ransom to be paid, so it’s up to Richard Harris and his team to disarm the bombs while Anthony Hopkins works to try and find the bomber. The key is that unlike “Speed”, where you know the bomb isn’t going to go off, in “Juggernaut” ANY of the bombs could go off at any time. This makes the whole thing incredibly tense.

    Richard Harris plays a true badass in this film. It’s one of the most gripping thrillers I’ve ever seen; and I don’t understand, especially given how well-regarded it is by critics, how it’s been forgotten as much as it has. I put it down to it having been overshadowed by “The Poseidon Adventure” at the time, which makes sense – “Poseidon” was a big-budget Hollywood thriller and is also an exceptionally good movie – but “Juggernaut” has a fantastic cast of characters and a lot of rather dark humour that always adds to the film and never takes away from the tension. Oh, and the title character’s final action in the film still has me reeling, having seen it six or seven times.

    Tonally speaking, it’s similar to the Edward Fox version of “Day of the Jackal” (also an incredibly good film, by the way) so if you enjoyed that, you will probably love “Juggernaut”.

    Seriously… this is right up there on my top-ten favorite films of all time. It’s that freaking good. Structurally speaking “The Poseidon Adventure” is a better movie (if I have any criticism of “Juggernaut” it’s that the bits with Anthony Hopkins and the bureaucrats in London drag out a little) but “Juggernaut” will always be my favorite of the two. You know how hard I am on a lot of films; the fact that I’m saying this one is so good (for the record, it’s a better thriller than “Sneakers”, and I love “Sneakers”) should be a hint that you should see it!

  34. “I heard that literally no Australian drinks Fosters”. That’s probably true, Griff. And I’m sorry for not doing enough research on the subject. I should of course have gone with VB. A far superior drink!

  35. Paul Hogan used to have a scketch show called The Paul Hogan show (natch) back in the 80’s which was shown on british tv.The sketches were ok but his monologues were pretty funny – kind of like the late great Dave Allen.

    Paul – you do know that the plot of Juggernaut has been ripped off by just about every action tv series over the years? In fact MacGuyver did it almost scene for scene.

  36. Mike – Yep, I do, and not just TV series; in fact, the opening of “Lethal Weapon 3” is probably the funniest part of the entire film, and that’s a straight-up parody of “Juggernaut”.

  37. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2011 at 7:29 am

    pegsman: I agree with you that the fish-out-of-water formula is pretty standard stuff, applicable to any culture (ie, the Robin Williams film MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON), but the DUNDEE movies had to be about an Australian because the studio was cashing in on a lucrative trend. Men At Work, Midnight Oil, Olivia Newton John, Yahoo Serious, hacky sacks, that angry dude who looked like a fat Billy Idol: all this stuff was popular at the time, and the DUNDEE films exist in part to cash in on it.

  38. Paul, I was with you on JUGGERNAUT until you told Vern to see it because you are so hard on other movies, but like this one. Just because you think a bunch of movies I like are shit doesn’t make me want to watch a movie that has met your approval. By hating a bunch of stuff, it doesn’t make your opinion more valuable. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a young Dumbledore defuse bombs.

  39. Jareth: Yahoo Serious rode the Crocodile Dundee train, not the other way around.

  40. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for clarifying that, Majestyk. Even though I lived through it, it’s all kind of an angsty blur of jelly shoes, chia pets and Teddy Ruxpin. Like the way war flashbacks are depicted in action movies.

  41. I want to thank CJ for deciding against saying something bad about HIMYM. Internet rule says that every positive comment must have a negative counter point. It’s good to see CJ not following the rules and realizing that sometimes it’s best to not get into an argument over a TV show. Bravo sir. BRAVO~!

  42. Griff, ’80s movies used to have lots of T&A in a PG. Remember Sheena?

  43. Jareth, I know Dundee 1 couldn’t have been made anywhere else, because it is as much about Australian nature as it is about the man who guides nice assed American journalists through it. That, and the fact that it was Hogan’s idea in the first place, of course. And I guess that the movie, much like the Trinity films in the early seventies, served as a counter reaction to it’s violent predecessors (Mad Max, Road Games, Razorback etc.). Australians don’t just kill people, they can be funny too.

  44. I worked at a movie theatre that summer down in Virginia Beach. It was an independent theatre and was really slapdash. I remember it more fondly than I should.

    This movie was weird because we ended up getting it in the theatre a few weeks after it had come out. Even still we ended up getting fairly respectable crowds coming out to see it. I think we had more people come out to see this than Enemy At The Gates. It’s not a bad movie. It’s definitely inoffensive and watchable and I guess that’s better than can be said for a sequel no one asked for.

    I wouldn’t mind if they made a new DTV sequel starring Scott Adkins, though. It could involve a secret fighting tournament in the Outback.

  45. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Casey: And by “Outback” I assume you are not referring to the steakhouse. Although that might be cool too.

  46. Maybe the Crocodile Dundee movie is done with sequels, but how long do you think it will take until we get a reboot?

  47. I haven’t seen it, but yeah isn’t Sheena the movie with an almost totally naked woman and it’s still somehow PG-13? only in the 80’s

    and the closest I’ve ever been to Australia is the Outback Steakhouse (I like the bloomin’ onions)

  48. oh wait, it is PG, that’s even weirder

  49. ThomasCrown442

    June 8th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Do you guys realize that, according IMDB, the first Crocodile Dundee grossed 174 million in the US and 360 million worldwide? Wow. I knew it was popular but goddamn.

  50. To be fair, I don’t think this was intended as a summer blockbuster. Probably just a schedule opening and counter programming. Were they event starting summer in April back then? That’s a relatively new thing.

  51. I have to admit that I loved the first Crocodile Dundee film, and I enjoyed the second one, but I have never had any desire to see this film. I am a admitted fan of the series and I can’t comprehend how or why this movie was made. They should make a new Dundee squeal where he uses his tracking and survivalist skills to asst the military in tracking down terrorists.

  52. Yeah, they should make Dundee squeal!

  53. Sorry, as usual I hopelessly skilled in the way of the typo.

  54. The Sophisticated Panda

    June 10th, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I realize I am late to the game on this one, but I am surprised no one has mentioned that minor ESPN celebrity and fantasy baseball analyst Matthew Berry is the co-writer of this sequel. When ESPNers give him a hard time about his involvement with CD3LA, he gives the usual screenwriting argument that what was written on the page was designed to be more of a satire about Hollywood’s obsession with sequels. But, from the review/commentary, it sounds like that’s exactly how the movie turned out!

    And in case you were curious, he’s just as good with fantasy baseball advice as he is with writing Crocodile Dundee sequels.

  55. The inspiration for the character.

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