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Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
When Crocodile Dundee came out in 1986, the world was much different than it is today. We weren't all tied together (some say ensnared by) the world wide web; there were 3 major television networks; cable was just a repository for network reruns (and HBO and MTV); and The Crocodile Hunter was just a nerd in high school being bullied by the big man on campus - Russell Crowe (OK, this isn't true, but you can imagine it, can't you. Steve what's his name spending days on field trips and Crowe, with the head cheerleader on his arm, mocking The Crocodile Hunter as he walks around campus). Most of all, we didn't have The Outback Steakhouse. In other words, it was a small world and Australia seemed like another planet.
It was an exotic, magical place where nature remained untouched. Her people, like Paul Hogan, seemed to come from another generation - a tougher generation that knew how to fight crocodiles and act manly. The thought of one of these mega-men confronting the idiosyncrasies and oddities of America was great comedy! The USA was as strange and exotic to Australians as we were to them. Crocodile Dundee was a fish out of water, and that was the joke. He could love everything in America, whereas we had started to balkanize into many separate groups and cultures.
Does that joke stand up 15 years later?
Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) lives peacefully in Walkabout, Australia (located somewhere in the Outback, I hope he has been able to avoid those folks from Survivor) managing a tour company, raising his 8-year old son, and loving his long time girlfriend, Sue (real life wife and frequent co-star Linda Kozlawski). Everything seems just fine and dandy until Sue gets a call from her Dad, the owner and publisher of New York Newsday.
The Los Angeles editor of the paper has died in a horrible car accident, so Sue is offered the chance to go to LA to fill his shoes. Mick thinks it is a good idea for their son to see more of the world, and urges her to take the job. Of course, Sue soon discovers that the story the dead editor was investigating at the time of his accident may have caused some local toughs at a new studio to bump him off.
Will Sue get to the bottom of this possible conspiracy?
The plot is secondary to this film. Crocodile Dundee Goes to Los Angeles was written so Paul Hogan can lampoon Hollywood. Frankly, the plot is just a vehicle to end the movie, because the rest of the film is just a string of scenes where Crocodile Dundee reacts to the silliness of Los Angeles residents, the movie business, modern inventions and more. There are plenty of predictable jokes about LA news helicopters, valet parking, an homage to the famous mugging scene from the first Dundee flick, and even The Clapper.
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles is full of giggles, but not many guffaws and hearty belly laughs. At least, you won't be subject to an endless stream of tasteless jokes, and Hogan creates a likable character that is familiar and cozy. Grade: D
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