KANGAROO JACK

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I’ve had it. I’ve fucking had it. I’ve been putting off seeing this debacle for as long as possible, but at the urging of Jonny,I decided it was my duty to suffer through it. If no one else was
willing to sit through the worst swill Hollywood has to offer, I would
reluctantly take a bullet for the team. Yet, I believe that I took more
than a bullet. After all, I sat through the worst film ever associated
with Jerry Bruckheimer. For anyone even remotely familiar with his
record, that is no small feat. And, after I received the news that this
film topped the box office in its opening weekend, I learned something
else about the American Public
– who I hate with such a ferocious intensity – with all of their
distractions, trinkets, toys, and flashing lights, they still, deep
within the pits of their tortured souls, had yet to see the definitive
“Kangaroo Picture.” They were waiting for this day and it seems just
that only Mr. Bruckheimer could give it to them.

I have always known that Bruckheimer has contributed to, if not outright caused, the rapid disintegration of
taste and culture in American life. With simpleminded plots, over-ripe
dialogue, and mind-numbing action, Bruckheimer has tapped, perhaps more
than anyone else, the increasing desire to avoid nuance and thought in
our daily lives. He has been loud, yes, but has he always been this
homoerotic? To a certain extent, all action films or even “buddy pics”
have had homoerotic undertones, but I never imagined such things would
even extend to what is being marketed as a “family” film. The
“friendship” between the two lead characters – Charlie (Jerry O’
Connell) and Louis (Anthony Anderson) – is nothing short of a
well-oiled, chiseled-abs inspired miracle. They fight, tease, touch,
and roll around in the dirt, all without expressing their desires. One
exchange does manage to escape their lips that betrays their true
desires, however:

Charlie: Louis, quick, stick your hand down my pants.
Louis: Hey man, we all have urges, but this isn’t the time…although there was that one time I saw that well-built Latino…

A wink-wink to the audience to show that they realize the
implications, or an understanding that the genre has surrendered itself
entirely to the fantasies of closeted men everywhere?

Still, Bruckheimer throws in a “love interest” to keep things
honest, although I would classify it more as a distraction. The girl in
question, Jessie (Estella Warren), is a typically vapid Bruckheimer
babe – all tits and legs without any depth whatsoever – and she does
marry Charlie in the end, but on the same boat with the newlyweds is,
of course, Louis, who will always be around as he is the one Charlie
truly loves. The two share an exchange near the end of the film that is
so packed with love and desire (they keep telling each other how much
they mean to each other and how they’ve always been there through thick
and thin) that I kept wondering if an editing mix-up had accidentally
removed Jessie from the scene. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The
story, at last.

Charlie is a hairdresser in Brooklyn (I am not fucking
kidding?..perhaps this whole thing is more overt than I had imagined)
and his shop is owned by his mobster stepfather, played by Christopher
Walken (I’d say it was an embarrassing role, but he’s done this shit
too often to elicit my “shock”). Charlie pals around with childhood
friend Louis, a bumbling Stepin Fetchit type who always has a new
scheme to make fast money. When Charlie reluctantly agrees to help
Louis with a stolen TV job, the two manage to unintentionally screw
Charlie’s stepfather out of money and stolen treasure (don’t ask,
although there is a silly chase scene within the first ten minutes of
the film). In order to avoid being killed for the error, the two agree
to take $50,000 to a man named Mr. Smith in the Australian Outback. But
of course, Mr. Smith is actually a hit-man employed by the evil
stepfather, and the $50,000 is the payment for the murder of the two
dopey guys. Before this can occur, however, the two lovers manage to
lose the money after hitting a kangaroo on an isolated dirt road.
Thinking the animal is dead, the two pose the kangaroo for pictures and
dress it in Louis’ jacket (where the money has been placed). Suddenly,
the kangaroo springs to life, kicks Charlie in the chest, and runs into
the desert. The rest of the film is an extended chase sequence to
retrieve the money, involving bi-planes, jeeps, a drunken old pilot,
and, in a cinematic first, camels. There are no surprises here, of
course, for our “heroes” escape when they must, courtesy of villains
with poor aim and convenient dust storms.

Strike that – there was one genuine surprise. After a
long day of tracking the kangaroo, Jessie is glimpsed in an erotic
scene beneath a waterfall, complete with seductive music and the
possibility of glistening, soaking wet breasts. But wait! Bruckheimer
has improbably put clothes on this fair maiden, and we are denied the
one moment of genuine titillation to be found in this mess. Charlie
shows up, teases her, gives her a light kiss, but before going any
further, is interrupted by Louis, who has decided to jump into the
water for a dip. Sure. The timing is just too convenient and further
evidence that these two men are the real cinematic couple.

Without droning on and on about a film that could only be taken
seriously by the type of people with whom I shared a screening
(slackjawed, the lot of ’em), let it be said that the money is found,
the bad guys captured, the kangaroo reunited with his family, and even
the evil stepfather put on trial for his crimes. Beyond the gay theme,
there were plenty of fart jokes, pratfalls, and insults to satisfy the
demands of discriminating audiences everywhere. But before I go, let me
mention the audience. While it consisted primarily of children (who
laughed wildly throughout while I scowled in the back corner of the
theater), there were some adults who should have known better. They too
threw their heads back in gleeful excitement, arguably eclipsing the
deafening noise of their animal-like brood. I know that I have
ridiculed these cretins before, but with each successive screening, I
am astounded at the ease by which they are amused. For every rousing
speech by President Bush about the “glory” of America and the decency
of its citizens, there are moments like this – glaring, 2X4-to-the-face
examples of democracy’s failings and na?ve faith in mankind. I know, I
know, we have the right to be stupid, even obnoxiously so. We do
indeed. But in a day and age when we talk daily about the Constitution
and what we are allegedly protecting by engaging in a perpetual “war,”
why must we demonstrate to the world that when it comes to rights, we
are content to limit our expressions to those involving firearms or the
willful destruction of brain cells? With Kangaroo Jack, we can indulge both.


Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times I urinated before the film, thereby taking away the one excuse I had to leave the theater after it started: 1
  • Number of babies I heard crying, yet didn’t give a shit: 2
  • Number of times I sighed with relief knowing that I got in without paying, thanks to a free pass: 6
  • Number of times such relief was tempered by the knowledge that
    I paid good money the night before to see that piece of shit The Hours:
    4
  • Number of times I thought to myself, “Oh shit, the Eagles/Bucs game is on”: 2
  • Number of times I made a move for the door because I am a masochistic fuck who loves wasting time: 0
About Matt

Matt is the site’s Longest Serving Critic and chief misanthrope. He divides his time between classics of cinema and the most ridiculous movies he can find on Redbox.
Follow Matt: @mattcale52