Kangaroo Jack (2003) — Hip hop horrible

“I am Bola Man.”

Rich’s rating: I have no more tears to weep for humanity.

Rich’s review: Now, I’m fairly sure that somewhere in the bowels of BlockBuster HQ, behind the endless mounds of butter popcorn, and just past the room with all the junk mail they send out every day, is a supercomputer which meticulously catalogues the viewing habits of all its video renters for some nefarious purpose, possibly having to do with global domination or preparing the unsuspecting world for the release of You Got Served 2: Served Harder.

And what disturbs me about this is that, when the day comes when Blockbuster’s nefarious minions use this data for their master plan, the details held under my name will quite firmly place me in the category of ‘guy who likes really terrible films,’ because my last five rentals from BlockBuster are: Slackers (twice), Problem Child, and now Kangaroo Jack, twice. Someone in Blockbuster HQ is laughing at me right now, while ordering extra copies of Legally Blonde 3: Legally Blonde With a Vengeance for my local store.

How do I explain to them that at the beginning of this year, I foolishly decided to allow the wicked and evil inhabitants of our forums select a film once per month to make me watch, never in a million years believing that they would seize on this opportunity to make me sit through the worst bilge ever pumped out of the sewers of Hollywood?

The villain of today’s piece was forums member Al, who tantalisingly gave me the options to review early ’80s Anti-Roleplaying Propaganda film Mazes and Monsters (Which I have seen, but couldn’t remember enough of to give it a real review -– suffice to say, if I can find a copy, I’ll definitely review it anyway) or some low budget sword and sorcery flick of which the only remaining video copy no doubt exists only in Video Shack in Buttefluff, New Mexico, where it sits on the shelf beside the worlds largest collection of Steven Segal films, including 32 copies of the film Navy Seals.

So, my first two options out of the window, I was left with this –- Kangaroo Jack. I can’t say my heart leaped at the excitement of having to review this film that, when it came out, I had avoided like Scarlet Fever. In fact, so unenthused was I by the concept of this film that the first time I rented it, I managed to make so many excuses to myself not to watch it over the weekend that the rental period expired without me even opening the DVD box.

Anyway, being a man of my word, I finally rented it AGAIN, and with the enthusiasm of the guest of honour at a hanging, settled down to watch it.

Ninety-three minutes later, when the credits rolled, I blinked slightly, massaged my numb face, and started drinking in earnest as the shaking began, because Kangaroo Jack is something like the anti-matter of entertainment. It’s the ultimate negative to everything positive that has ever been committed to celluloid. It’s the equal and opposite reaction to films like American Beauty. It’s not funny, or scary, or interesting, or dramatic, or engaging; it’s not bad enough to mock either; it just sits there and plays relentlessly as it sucks all the goodness and light from your soul while in the back of your mind all you can hear is the haunting laughter of Jerry Bruckheimer as he lights his Cuban cigar with the dollar bills you just paid to watch this monstrosity.

Kangaroo Jack occupies some strange limbo in the land of film where it has absolutely no target audience at all. It’s too adult for kids, yet too childish for adults to enjoy it; too cartoony for serious film fans, yet the cartoonish segments are few and far between. Oh, and it’s not remotely funny, unless your idea of comedy is two guys running/driving/flying away going “ARRRRRGGGGHHH!” every two minutes or you’re easily amused by the toilet habits of Australian animals.

The plot for this film, in an effort to inject some purpose into this rant, is this: The step-son (Jerry O’Connell aka “That Guy from Sliders”) of a Mafia boss (Christopher Walken, who I can only assume owed Bruckheimer money and was forced to appear in this film) accidentally blows a big Mafia operation to the cops, so to make up for their mistake, Mr. Walken sends his step-son and his lifelong buddy Louis (Anthony Anderson) to Australia with $50,000 to pay off a shady hitman.

However, being the geniuses that they are, when the two get to Oz and find a “dead” kangaroo at the side of the road, they decide that, in order to get some good photos to show the folks back home, they will dress up the Kangaroo in O’Connells shades and “lucky jacket”, which just happens to have the fifty grand in the pockets. Of course, the ‘roo isn’t dead, and no sooner have they put the jacket with the Mafia’s money on him, he springs to life and runs off with the cash.

Knowing that they’re so much salami if they loose the money, the bumbling duo then pursue said kangaroo all over the outback in what I’m sure would be “hilarious circumstances” if it weren’t the most trite, uninteresting, badly done, underwhelming and clichéd set of comedy set pieces in the history of all cinema. They even hire a pretty young kangaroo expert to be the painfully unconvincing love interest.

Incidentally, if you thought this film was about a talking, rapping, dancing kangaroo because of the trailers, then you weren’t alone. In fact, I thought that was the whole premise for the film before I watched it. However, that cartoonish sequence with the CGI dancing ‘roo becomes, in the film, no more than a delusion brought on by Quinn Mallory getting hit in the head, and bears no relation to the rest of the film. I think it speaks volumes about the quality of the plot when even the trails for the film refuse to actually tell you what the film is really about, hoping that the adventures of a rapping kangaroo might bring in more soon-to-be-disappointed viewers.

It’s certainly not the worst film I’ve ever paid money to see (Batman & Robin and Dungeons & Dragons still jointly hold that title), but it certainly ranks up there amongst the films I would love to see expunged from existence. And if Jerry Bruckheimer ever visits Australia, I suggest he keeps a low profile. After the mauling he gave every stereotype about Australians, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a roving gang of cork-hat wearing, tanned and drunken men dressed in khaki called Bruce who are looking to throw him on the barbie next to the shrimp.

Didja notice?

  • The copious amount of jokes relating to animals and their dung. Now that’s comedy, ladies and gentlemen.
  • More awful, awful romantic dialogue. It’s the new fashion in Hollywood!
  • How realistic the CGI ‘roo looked? Even I was impressed.

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