Kangaroo Jack

Bomb Rating: 

This is the kind of movie that, once it's over, you leave the theater with your jacket over your head.

I admit it: I tried to skip "Kangaroo Jack" altogether, figuring it would beat a hasty retreat from theaters and I could claim that reviewing the film had just "slipped my mind." Then "Kangaroo Jack" spent its opening week as the #1 movie in America. No wonder it's so easy to hijack an election in this country and use your stolen mandate to lead it into an apocalyptic war -- everyone's too busy flocking to crap like "Kangaroo Jack" to get off their asses and do anything about it.

Faced with an invitation to accompany me to "Kangaroo Jack" to lend some support during the ordeal, my so-called "friends" were quick to evaporate into a miasma of excuses such as "I have to help a friend move," "My grandpa's having a stroke tonight" and "Frankly, I'd rather crap broken glass." This is the kind of movie that, once it's over, you leave the theater with your jacket over your head. I went to the ticket window alone, and alone confessed my shame: "One for 'Kangaroo Jack' please."

The theater lobby went silent. All activity stopped. I felt dozens of pairs of eyes on me as people turned to stare. The juxtaposition of the words "one" and "Kangaroo Jack" had pierced the room with the clarity of a social air raid siren. A finishing batch of popcorn popped once, twice, and was quiet. A soda cup overflowed unattended. Only after I uttered meekly, "I'm just reviewing it," did the ticket clerk put down the phone to the suicide hotline. As I slinked through the parting crowd to the theater housing "Kangaroo Jack," a disturbing thought occurred to me: This, maybe, is bottom.

Only once my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the theater and I saw exactly which segment of America was flocking to this movie did I realize that bottom was yet to come. Near the front, a woman sat in the middle of a ring of empty seats, weeping profusely. Ten rows back sat another man, reciting the Lord's prayer with feverish intensity. In the back row, two homeless men were already well into a masturbation contest. In the front row, three kids being force-fed quality time by their weekend dad stopped licking dried soda off the armrests only long enough to start screaming in terror once "Kangaroo Jack" was finally unveiled.

Charlie (Jerry O'Connell) and Louis (Anthony Anderson) are unlovable losers who mistakenly lead the cops right to the stolen goods warehouse of a mobster (Christopher Walken) who also happens to be Charlie's stepfather. To make reparations, they're sent on a mission to deliver $50,000 to a hood in the Australian outback. Once there, they run over a kangaroo, who, not being quite dead yet, manages to make off with Louis's lucky jacket and the envelope full of money. The rest of movie is a madcap romp to chase down the kangaroo and get the money before being shot in the head by competing mobsters.

Kangaroo Jack himself is a digitally animated freak-of-technology who, as he vamps for the camera and makes ostensibly kangaroo-like cooing noises, bears an uncanny resemblance to Jar Jar Binks. It's like Jar Jar Binks got his own movie. Imagine Star Wars with no space ships, no gun fights, no rebels, no Empire, no story, no characters and no future -- just Jar Jar Binks alone in the Australian outback, with you. Count to 60 seconds, then count to 60 seconds 89 more times. Maybe this is bottom.

It could be worse. I could be Christopher Walken. I don't know what sort of blackmail material producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director David McNally have on Walken, but I suspect the answer is the most disturbing possibility of all: none. Walken in a film like this is a Simpsons gag, not a valid cinematic endeavor. This is a movie that exposes all its cut corners: When Charlie and Louis are unloading a stolen television, there's little effort to hide the fact that it's actually one of those fake cardboard televisions like they have in furniture stores. Some of the actors playing mobsters are so bad that you realize you're watching all three lines of their entire movie career. At one point our heroes are bound and Charlie says "reach into my pants and pull out my scissors," because he just happens to have scissors in his pants. Fine, he's a hairdresser (big laffs), but he keeps his scissors in his pants while camping? There's an entire scene dedicated to camel flatulence. Just when you think that this, this might be bottom, the kangaroo starts to rap. You heard me: THE KANGAROO RAPS!

What could be worse? The ending. Our heroes retrieve the money and the kangaroo brings out his digitally created kangaroo family to blink mawkishly into the camera. Then the movie ends FOUR MORE TIMES, each worse than the last. One: Our characters erupt in laughter, then the shot is frozen mid-teeth in a technique not seen since the days of "CHiPs." Two: The kangaroo addresses the camera directly with some random diatribe along the lines of, "Hey, I'm the star of this movie -- I should be in the ending! Tee-hee!" Three: We have the "post-storyline narratives" where we tie up all the loose ends because the screenwriters were incapable of doing so. Four: Layering one last coating of diarrhea onto our cinematic turd cake, the digitally distended fake kangaroo does a "Dr. Evil" impression in what's apparently supposed to be some sort of outtake, thus dragging this uniquely horrible film across the 90-minute mark and its review forever into the enduring infamy of Mr. Cranky's "nuke" category. At last, at long last, we've found bottom.

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