Plot via IMDB:
Follows the title reptile who lives in a house on East 88th Street in New York City. Lyle enjoys helping the Primm family with everyday chores and playing with the neighborhood kids but one neighbor insists that Lyle belongs in a zoo. Mr. Grumps and his cat, Loretta, do not like crocodiles, and Lyle tries to prove that he is not as bad as others might first think.
Lyle, Lyle Crocodile features the named reptile that sings, dances, and in one scene, eats a CGI Grumpy Cat substitute. Of course, in the end, the croc sings the Elton John ditty Crocodile Rock. The movie wants every parent and tyke who watched this charming kids movie hopping and bopping out the exits. I just wished there was more of that Grumpy Cat sub, but that’s what happen when you get stuck as the pet for very unfunny human named Grump.
Lyle, Lyle Crocodile is anything but cold blooded. It has enough ear worm songs at regular intervals to keep the kids happy and the parents from nodding off. The songs are sung with enthusiasm by Vine sensation Shawn Mendes. The songwriting team responsible for Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman– Benj Pasek and Justin Paul– composed the songs. They have a broadway/pop flavor that reminded me of the less soaring but more soothing tunes from The Greatest Showman, something you might hear from the aspiring singers that litter American Idol, The Voice or America’s Got Talent. The soaring anthem “Top of the World,” the power ballad “Carried Away” and the charming duet “Take a Look at Us Now” are a few of the catchier ear worms.
There is a strong The Greatest Showman subplot in Javier Bardem’s Valenti, Lyle’s original owner, a grunge version of Hugh Jackman’s P.T . Barnum character. Bardem gives it enough delusions of grandeur enthusiasm to make it a skillful, touching comic performance. Bardem’s acting has enough jolt in it to make it the true energy of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. The other humans that attach to the crocodile are pretty much standard issue.
Still, the CGI Lyle is the star. The effects team give him expressive eyes and a sheepish manner that tones down the threatening edges the audience might naturally associate with a crocodile. That he likes to dumpster dive assorted tossed out restaurant delicacies makes him endearing to the pig pen heart in every kid watching, and remind them of the original Bernard Waber picture book series.
Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon strike a balance between earnestness and absurdity without getting lost in self-parody. Some meta humor also helps. They find gentle ways to earn the audience sympathy for Lyle, to have everyone see him as something other than a cold blooded reptile. The two keep it all humming with style, fluid and crawling camera work. They create a Lyle that is both Waber and their own distinct creature.
Lyle, Lyle Crocodile gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
by Bernard Waber
- Hutch Parker
- Will Speck
- Josh Gordon
- Matthew Margeson(score)
- Benj Pasek
- Columbia Pictures
- Eagle Pictures
- TSG Entertainment II
- October 2, 2022(AMC Lincoln Square 13)
- October 7, 2022(United States)
- November 4, 2022(India)
Leave a Reply