“Kangaroo Jack”

NOSTALGIA LANE MOVIE REVIEW: “Kangaroo Jack” stars Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire, Stand by Me), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish [TV series], Transformers [2007]), Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes [2001], The Cooler), Christopher Walken (Seven Psychopaths, Antz), Martin Csokas (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Equalizer), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, Man of Steel), and Bill Hunter (Finding Nemo, Strictly Ballroom). It was directed by David McNally (Coyote Ugly, Justice [TV series]) and written by Steve Bing (Every Breath, Missing in Action), Barry O’Brien (The Einstein Factor [TV series], CSI: Miami [TV series]), and Scott Rosenberg (Gone in Sixty Seconds, Con Air). Charlie Carbone (O’Connell) and Louis Booker (Anderson) travel to Australia to deliver a package for Charlie’s mob boss step-father Sal (Walken), when the two fall from his grace one time too many. However, when they arrive in the outback, they lose their delivery to a kangaroo, who carries off with it within a jacket Louis put on the marsupial. Now the two must track it down to get the package back before any harm is done to them.

Hopefully most of you know of the pure cinematic gold that is “Kangaroo Jack.” I mean, it would be an absolute shame if you have never seen it, let alone heard of it. Christopher Walken would certainly throw a fit, being as how this is his best performance of his career… if you all haven’t noticed, I’m being sarcastic. Albeit it’s fun package, “Kangaroo Jack” is nowhere near the likes of the great films for families. I honestly don’t know whether to call the creator behind two guys chasing a kangaroo with their money a genius or a lunatic. Either way, the product doesn’t set itself up for success or failure, sticking to a simplistic, middle-ground approach. I grew up with this flick, hence its placement in this marathon. I remember reenacting specific scenes with my brother, primarily the garbage chute sequence. Why we found it so amusing and memorable, I will never know; it has been permanently engrained in my head amongst all of the other obscure movie references. We loved the dynamic of the main characters and thought the jokes were hilarious. What kid wouldn’t? There’s fart jokes and Anthony Anderson who gives all the stereotypical black lingo. It’s clearly a playground for children to enjoy, and I think, if promoted enough by parents, “Kangaroo Jack” can become immortal. However, I’m one of the few in my friend groups who have seen it, so I doubt that will happen. What keeps it short of everyone’s classic collection? It’s unwillingness to be bold. Sure, the concept of these guys hunting a kangaroo for its jacket is original, though the approach relies on a system that gets too familiar way too fast. Charlie and Louis take a step forward in the right direction, only to take two steps back due to Louis’ mistakes. And boy, did Louis screw up a lot. I’ll admit that the character was funny; Anthony Anderson was the best part of the feature and I have always found him to be a hilarious actor (his role in 2007’s “Transformers” was one of the best). However, he was mainly used as a narrative drive than a character. Constantly, Charlie and Louis would push further away from Sal’s graces, and every attempt made in their favor would fall to Louis. It got old, even though it was consistently funny. What came of this structure was a joke-by-joke flow, as each scene was set up for a funny moment rather than a push for character or story development. Charlie and Louis arrive in Australia roughly twenty-five minutes into the feature, and from there until the end (it’s an hour and thirty minutes long), Louis screws up their deal and Charlie shakes his head every step of the way. Some of these screw ups were pretty predictable, like their drunk plane pilot (who was admittedly funny) and the kangaroo waking up when they were taking pictures of it. When the joke rang in, so did the main musical score, which was pretty catchy in its own regard. Attached to this string of jokes is a hollow plot device of family business, involving Charlie’s step-father and step-brother. The writers tried to entangle their affairs in order to give the story flavor and thrills, though it came off as one-dimensional and uninteresting outside of the actors who portrayed them (Walken, Michael Shannon, and Martin Csokas? Count me in!). The big set piece at the end that was meant to be the climax was fun, though it could’ve been a heck of a lot more rewarding if I was actually invested in the deal that was being made behind closed doors. Once you realize the reason behind the money being given to Mr. Smith, the film becomes convoluted and completely unnecessary. I won’t go into spoilers, but I will say that there are easier, quicker ways to get this deal made without going to Australia. I didn’t even need to know the reason since it wasn’t a main component of the story, but I was given it anyway, and while I didn’t predict it I was frustrated. “Kangaroo Jack” scores in certain places. The acting is decent and has many familiar faces I enjoyed seeing, the story was funny overall, and the CGI of the kangaroo wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be (though it still shows its age). It’s a decent release that I’m sure kids will enjoy as I did. Heck, I still found some fun in watching it over again. I just wish the story tried to be bold instead of settling for jokes over plot. FINAL SCORE: 74%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Kangaroo Jack”

  1. Pingback: August Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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