Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon
Director: Peter Faiman
Running Time: 97 mins
Crocodile Dundee is an American/Australian film about an American journalist who travels to the Australian outback to meet a local crocodile poacher, and after experiencing his homeland, invites him back to New York City.
A delightful combination of pure 1980s cheese and surprisingly heartfelt, uplifting drama, Crocodile Dundee is an enormously enjoyable watch. With an effortlessly charismatic lead performance from Paul Hogan, and a strong blend of Hollywood and Aussie humour, there’s emotion, laughs and everything in between here.
There’s a lot to love about Crocodile Dundee, but the real reason that it stands out so much is because it’s more than just a light-hearted comedy. Its clash of cultures is a gold mine for laughs, and the film uses that to great effect throughout, but the fact that it also takes a step back and tells a slightly more serious story makes it all the better.
Initially an engrossing insight into the life of a man spending his days out in the wilderness, Crocodile Dundee shows in beautifully heartfelt and pure fashion that all which surrounds us in the modern world isn’t everything in life.
That comes through in Hogan’s wonderfully down-to-earth performance, a portraying a modest and humble man who, along with a few laddish gags from time to time, helps and introduces a woman from the other side of the world to his unorthodox lifestyle.
And with that, the relationship they develop in the days they spend together is a delight to watch unfold, while the film’s surprisingly earnest portrayal of life in the bush makes Dundee himself a thoroughly interesting character from the start.
Of course, there’s a little bit of fun, lazy stereotyping of both sides. Paul Hogan’s screenplay plays on national stereotypes well, delivering clever, self-aware humour that pokes fun at both Australia and America. But that only adds to the film’s light-hearted, fun-loving qualities throughout.
Halfway through, the story takes a turn as Crocodile Dundee goes to New York City with the reporter he has bonded with in the outback. And that’s when the film’s most interesting and heartfelt themes come in, even if it’s not quite as charismatic as it is in its carefree early stages.
The comedy in the second half largely revolves around Dundee’s unfamiliarity with all the facets of modern, urban society, and as much fun as it is at times, that does prove a little repetitive at times.
But the film’s portrayal of how New Yorkers receive Dundee is by far the film’s most interesting idea. With his innocent, honest and down-to-earth personality leaving him vulnerable to mockery and derision by the urban folk, Crocodile Dundee finds himself in an entirely different world to what he has always known.
And there, the movie hits home on a fascinating and thought-provoking idea about parading a supposedly eccentric or even ‘heroic’ personality around as little more than an object of curiosity. As Dundee continues to struggle to fit in with urban society, the prejudice and mockery he faces continues to grow.
Yet with his immense heart and charisma, he stands up to it all and carries on in honest fashion – a delightful message of self-confidence and pride in the face of derision that I absolutely loved.
The movie does admittedly finish on what can only be described as a painfully cheesy note, pandering a little too much to Hollywood sensibilities at the last moment. But after an hour and a half of both hilarious and heartfelt entertainment, it’s hardly a major problem.
So, I had a great time with Crocodile Dundee. On the surface, it’s a rather cheesy watch, but with great charisma, a brilliant sense of humour, great performances and most of all heartfelt and interesting themes, it’s far more than the easy-going comedy you might expect at first. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.