Friday, April 1, 2011

Tie This Kangaroo Down

So far, my Liveblogs, in which I write real time comments while watching a movie on Netflix Instant, have all been horrible movies but today I decided to branch out a bit and challenge myself a bit a profile one of my favorite movies, the 1944 adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V starring Laurence Olivier. This will be a treat for both you and me and I can't wait to get started. So, here we go and HA HA HA HA APRIL FOOL! The real movie is a reportedly godawful "comedy", 2003's Kangaroo Jack.

0:10:00 -- This movie has managed to annoy several times already and we're only 10 minutes in. First, the movie has Christopher Walken in a supporting role. This means they had the gall to cast one of my favorite actors in their sucky movie. I know it's going to be a sucky movie because they open with a quick montage of Australia with narrator Jerry O'Connell (who's playing the lead character Charlie Carbone) showing us only the godforsaken parts of it while describing it as dangerous and remote. Well, yeah if you ignore all those bigass modern cities that serve as home to most of it's population of 22,000,000, it is just some hot, kangaroo infested wasteland. But enough of that, the movie thinks, as it turns its attention to a real country, the good ol' U.S. of A. We flashback to 1982 where we see a 10 year old Charlie. The movie loses some more credibility because anyone who's seen Stand By Me knows what Jerry O'Connell looked like back then and this isn't it. He is saved from drowning by another child, Louis Booker, who will someday grown up to look just like Anthony Anderson. The cost for Charlie is that now he feels obligated to participate in whatever crazy situation Louis may find himself in. Twenty years later, that would be delivering TVs that happen to be stolen. To make it a perfect day, Louis tries to hide out in a warehouse owned by Charlie's stepfather, gangster Sal Maggio (Walken). So far, the movie has averaged two jokes per minute, only one of which has made me mildly chuckle. I'd tell you what it was but I swear I've already forgotten it.

Hey look, it's those guys from those shows I don't watch.

0:30:00 -- Around the 16 minute mark there's a rather funny sequence in which Charlie and Louis are thought to be obsessed with their own shit. So far, it's the funniest thing in the movie and it actually makes me an advocate for the idea that the whole movie should have been about guys who are thought to be obsessed with shit. It's sad that this is the one bright spot of Kangaroo Jack's first 30 minutes. Well, Walken was pretty good but hell, he was good as some brain damaged janitor in Joe Dirt. Walken's gangster character in understandably upset that these two morons inadvertently caused him to lose millions of dollars in merchandise but he can't kill them because he's married to Charlie's mother. Naturally, the only option left is to trust them to take a package to Australia and successfully deliver it to one of their associates there. No one could have imagined something would go wrong. Well, I imagined it and I'd only known these guys for these than 30 minutes so why the hell didn't Sal and the other mobsters figure that this is as much beyond their skillset as everything else they've ever done in life? Anyway, Ass and Hole arrive in Australia and, against orders, open the package to find $50,000. Knowing they must now take the utmost care to safeguard this cache of mob money, they start driving through the Outback without looking where they're going and hit a kangaroo. Thinking it's dead, they do what any of us would do, that being dress it up in Louis's Brooklyn jacket so they can take pictures. Sadly, their lifetime pattern of bad luck and incompetence is not broken here as the kangaroo turns out to be alive and hops off with Louis's jacket. The jacket, by the way, has the money. After a brief chase in which their jeep hits everything it could possibly hit, they end up walking to the nearest town to call the mysterious Mr. Smith, the guy who was waiting for the package. I guess they thought Louis misunderstanding Australian slang would never get old because they do it again. And again. And some more. And I imagine they'll do it several more times too. By the way, let me wish a hearty "Welcome Back" to Martin Csokas who plays Mr. Smith. He was last seen in the Liveblog of Aeon Flux. Few actors are capable of this level of consistency in their work. Actually, he's a good actor. It's just a shame he keeps doing movies like this.

Good job, Walken. These were definitely the right guys for the job.

0:58:00 -- Louis meets a beautiful naturalist named Jessie (Estella Warren) who tells him the best way to capture their kangaroo would to shoot it from a plane with a tranquilizer dart. My greatest wish in life when I saw that was to find some way to place a large wager on whether or not the kangaroo would outsmart them and make them shoot themselves with that and, sure enough, they did less than four minutes later. Actually, they shot their pilot, a likable local named Blue, but I would have still won the bet. After they crashed, they thought it would be a good idea to wander through one of the world's most barren and inhospitable deserts to search for the kangaroo though I do admire the fact that they show no fear at the prospect of all those biker gangs looking for gasoline. While all this was going on, Sal sent his right hand man Frankie to search for and kill Louis and Charlie which, incidentally, is what Mr. Smith was supposed to do for the $50,000 fee. Smith has launched his own search and they each end up thinking it's just a swell idea to try and track these guys down when it looks like nature will probably succeed in taking them out itself. Charlie starts hallucinating and that's when they just happen to run into Jessie. Because really, what are the odds of not running into a beautiful woman in the middle of the Outback? He assumes she's another mirage and the only funny moment in the last half hour happened when, thinking she not real, he grabbed her breasts. Other than that, all other attempts at humor are just downright adorable in their sheer earnestness as they are lacking in any comedic value. Watching this movie try to be funny is like watching a duck try to perform neurosurgery. For instance, there's the seven minute sequence where they're riding camels and the camels won't stop farting. This is full on Adam Sandler level humor and that is only successful when Adam Sandler is doing it. Jessie agrees to help them for $2000 and, when they track down the kangaroo, she tells them they can knock it out by smearing mud over themselves to hide their scent and throwing bolos at it. I'm not sure what in Jessie's brief experience with these guys made her think there was a chance in Hell it wouldn't all go wrong and then SURPRISE it all goes wrong when Louis gets a sudden diarrhea attack just as the bolos are being thrown. Did I mention the dream sequence where the kangaroo rapped? It's probably best that I didn't.

Yep, this will end well.

1:28:00 -- After some scenes of awkward, pathetic flirting by both Charlie and Jessie, they manage to get captured by Smith. Jessie offers to show him where Kangaroo Jack (and Smith's money) is if they let the other two go. She goes with Smith and his henchmen take them off to be killed anyway but, in a scene that proves Smith lacks the ability to pick competent henchmen, Charlie and Louis manage to outsmart them. In fact, Charlie and Louis suddenly act with supreme competence in all they do. They find Smith and retrieve Jessie but then Frankie shows up because, really, how hard could anyone be to find in the vastness of the Australian Outback? Charlie, Louis and Jessie manage to escape while Frankie and Smith start battling it out. Louis manages to snag to money from the Brooklyn jacket Jack is wearing thinking this will get Frankie to spare them but he finally reveals that they were sent to Australia in the first place to be killed. Luckily, the writers know all about the concept of Deus Ex Machina and have an Australian policeman, a guy I never mentioned before because we thought he was just Frankie's tour guide, swoop in at the last minute and save everyone. Oh, Charlie managed to save Louis' life and there was a big emotional scene and Lord I don't want to talk about this anymore so let's skip to the end where, one year later, Charlie and Louis made a shampoo out of some berries they found in the Outback. Charlie marries Jessie, Louis does...hell, I don't know. He does something but we'll never know because the movie is over.

This scene of a kangaroo's backside perfectly sums up the movie. See ya later.


Dan Coyle said...

They did make a sequel... thankfully it was animated. Wait, that's bad.

I remember this movie was roundly criticized for its adult humor, and the fact kids were disappointed the kangaroo talked only in the dream sequence.

For a while there, Estella Warren was almost a thing, wasn't she? Seemed like a nice enough lady.

Michael Clear said...

Estella Warren is so beautiful that you may do lasting damage to your retinas if you stare at her too long. It's too bad the only regular work she can get is movies like this or those things that show up at 2 AM on Showtime.

Pauline said...