Movie Review: The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee

by Andrew McManus - Contributing Columnist

Directed Dean Murphy

Starring: Paul Hogan, Jacob Elordi, Chevy Chase, John Cleese, Olivia Newton-John, Wayne Knight, Rachel Carpani, and Reginald VelJohnson.

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 (for some language and suggestive material)

This week we have a sequel of sorts. Many of you I’m sure remember the Crocodile Dundee films. The classic 80s action adventures about an Australian in the Outback, then of course taken to the US as a “fish out of water.” I quote this film constantly. “That’s not a knife.” (Imagine terrible Australian accent.) The original films were fun, the third film which takes the Dundees to LA was poorly received and essentially killed the franchise. This film shows Paul Hogan in “real-life” trying to show that he is NOT actually Crocodile Dundee. Looking at the list of cast members, we see many that were big stars. Each character plays a version of themselves. It’s an interesting concept that has been down a few times before (Jean-Claude Van Damme did something similar.) However, as the film mentions time and time again. We know Hogan as Dundee. Even when I mentioned this film for my review I was asked, “There’s another Crocodile Dundee film?” I feel Hogan’s pain.

Onto the film

We open with Paul Hogan worrying about handling a snake. A group of fifth graders ask him for help. He’s called Mr. Dundee (this is a running joke.) and explains he’s not really Crocodile Dundee. It was a character he played! Hogan reluctantly agrees to help. Given a stick as his weapon. He dispatches the first one and then notices a larger one. Hogan hits the snake and it lands on a teacher’s face. We then get a montage of what Paul Hogan has been up to since Crocodile Dundee was released. The last 20 years haven’t been so kind to him.

After being released from the LA police station (yes he was taken in for the snake incident.) He learns from his manager Angie (Carpani) that the Queen of England wants to bestow him with a knighthood for “services to comedy.” He complains he doesn’t want a knighthood. Hogan grumbles on. We then see a Crocodile Dundee impersonator (he comes into play later.) In 6 weeks’ time, Hogan is to meet in person for his knighthood. He is instructed to stay out of trouble.

Hogan then meets with the studio executives who of course want another Dundee film. We see commentary which plays into the “meta” aspect of this film. In real-life we have seen

reports of another Dundee film but with a young star (Chris Hemsworth) to take over the mantle. The producers in this film mention this idea, but they want Will Smith. Hogan is bewildered and offends the execs. He explains the casting doesn’t make sense but the execs take it the wrong way. His manager is not happy.

We then meet Hogan’s son and granddaughter. These make for weak plot points that don’t push the story forward. What little story we have. Next we get to see the famous cast in their larger-than-life roles. Each celebrity meeting with Hogan reminding the audience who they are and what movies they were in. These meetings also don’t move the story forward much aside from Olivia Newton-John. She asks him to come to a charity event, and of course, he gets himself into trouble. You get the gist of how this film works.

This is truly where the movie starts to fail. The premise is weak at best. I’m on board with the plot point of Hogan being knighted. However, the plot is weak with everything in between. It feels like they had an idea (everything thinks Paul Hogan is Crocodile Dundee) but nothing more. We then get various hijinks where Hogan seemingly says the wrong thing or “attacks” people jeopardizing his knighthood. It gets old quick.

A few positives and with that very few. The film looks nice, given the mediocre plot, I expected poor filming as well, but I was surprised. Also, the cast is fun to see, even if they mail it in. They even got Chevy Chase to come out of hiding for a small role! However, Paul Hogan’s charisma and charm is mostly gone. He looks tired, and it feels he was forced to do this role. If you’re a Dundee fan you may have a few laughs or at least want to go home and put on the original films. That’s exactly what I did. Coming into the Christmas season we SHOULD have bigger films. Wonder Woman 1984 is one I am looking forward to and I think we are all excited to get back into bigger releases. 1 ½ stars out of 5

by Andrew McManus

Contributing Columnist

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper