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Kangaroo Jack

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Kangaroo Jack

from Film Forum, 01/23/03

Director David McNally scored the #1 hit at the box office this week with Kangaroo Jack, a comedy caper about a couple of guys from Brooklyn who have lost a bag of money in the Australian outback. A kangaroo has taken the money and run. With angry gangsters on their tail, the two buffoons begin a desperate pursuit. In case you're wondering, this is not based on a true story.

Steven Greydanus (Decent Films) describes Kangaroo Jack as an inventive mix of genres: "The world's first family romantic action-comedy cross-racial buddy gross-out flick. It's not exactly family fare. On the other hand, no grown-up in his right mind would pick this movie for himself. It seems to have no audience at all, except perhaps very indiscriminate young teens." He also questions the film's "heartwarming" moral, which he paraphrases as: "Even if your friends are criminals and are always getting you into trouble, that's what makes life interesting."

But Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) says it's funny "a fair bit of the time. [The stars] have an easygoing rapport that lends itself to the buddy-comedy genre and neither goes overboard on vulgar humor or nasty sexual innuendo." Pare praises the computer-generated star for "its soulful expressions and flying feet, a marvel of computer-generated effects that look credible and tickle the funny bone."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) falls somewhere in the middle: "McNally tries to make this into a passable evening's entertainment, and for some may reach a certain level of success … if one doesn't set one's expectations too high. I would have cut the camel flatulence and the fecal matter jokes, but to each his own."

Cheryl Kull with Lisa Rice (Movieguide) calls it a mixed bag: "Kangaroo Jack is a moral movie that espouses standing up for truth and life. There is a clear delineation of right and wrong, but there is homosexual humor, body humor, and light foul language."

Jesse Florea (Focus on the Family) writes that families should "hop far, far away."

Mainstream critics offered similar sentiments. Loren King (Chicago Tribune) says, "It's puzzling to think about which audience Kangaroo Jack is aiming for. The film's crude humor and violence—cartoonish, but still violent—should offend parents of younger kids. Yet its ultra-broad, pratfall-filled comedy will satisfy only the most indiscriminate teens." And Lou Lemenick (New York Post) comments, "This is barely enough story … to sustain a Three Stooges short, let alone an 88-minute movie."