ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  david mcnally

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  89 minutes

RELEASED  -  17 january 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  kangaroo jack

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
kangaroo jack - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from kangaroo jack at

buy the dvd from kangaroo jack at

two childhood friends from brooklyn get caught up with the mob and are forced to deliver $50,000 to australia, but things go haywire when the money is lost to a wild kangaroo.

originally titled down and under.


picture from kangaroo jack

picture from kangaroo jack

picture from kangaroo jack


two out of four possible stars

It might be close to folly for one to take a movie of this nature completely seriously. After all, it does involve a talking kangaroo. . . One might say that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock for taking on a project like this, but amazingly, it does have some small triumphs. Namely, the title character, and his realistic appearance. “Kangaroo Jack” is sometimes portrayed with a live puppet, but is more often than not the result of some computer animation. And the efforts by the special effects teams for this film really paid off. Because the character is quite a triumph in its appearance.

Though the screenwriters might have forgotten to take their ginkgo biloba while writing the script, the special effects are something the filmmakers should be proud of. The most recent high profile effort for creating a completely animated character for a feature film is probably 2002’s Scooby-Doo, which featured a completely animated dog as its title character. It’s safe to say that the efforts behind Kangaroo Jack’s creation have produced a superior animal. But a film cannot completely rely on special effects, even if the title character is nothing but that.

While it might be stretching the truth to say that this film could be enjoyed by both adults and children, it would better be described as a parent and child film. If you see this film as an adult, it would behoove you to be a parent, because given its PG rating and propensity for fart jokes (really long fart jokes), seeing this film from an adult point of view might be too reckless. But if you’re into those types of jokes (and perhaps the 18 to 24 year old males would appreciate the like), this movie has a plethora of jokes made for physical comedy and might get some laughs.

The two lead stars of the film, Jerry O’Connell, playing mob son, “Charlie Carbone,” and Anthony Anderson, playing would-be musician, “Louis Fucci,” don’t even get their pictures on the poster, though interestingly they have much more screen time than the aforementioned Kangaroo. Sent to Australia to deliver a package by his mobbed up step-father (played by Christopher Walken in a role that should have earned him additional scenes), Charlie, with fellow blundering nerd Louis, amazingly get the package stolen by a Kangaroo. The way in which the Kangaroo gets a hold of the money isn’t something that might actually occur anywhere in real life, but in any case, the package is gone and Charlie and Louis must traipse across the Outback in search of the Kangaroo and their fifty-thousand dollars.

And considering they wander all over the arid interior of the large country, it might be interesting to note that they fly to Sydney (which is in the Southeast corner of the country) and drive a few hours and end up in Alice Springs. It’s funny the screenwriters picked Alice Springs as the duo’s destination, because it’s over 3000 miles away from Sydney. Australia is a gigantic continent and getting to the interior takes as long as a drive from New York to Los Angeles. But geography aside, once Charlie and Louis are in Alice Springs, they come into contact with any number of weird Australians (do they never tire of making fun of themselves?) and soon meet, “Jessie,” an American researcher who works for an animal shelter, played by Estella Warren.

While the former synchronized swimmer might have caught the eyes of several clothing designers during her modeling career, her time on screen in this film is nothing to be proud about. Her dialogue really is wretched and some of her sentences sound as if they were literally just read off a page. Though this might sound like a rash generalization, it’s doubtless she snagged her role because of her looks and not her talent. Because her performance shows no talent to speak of in this film. But who knows, perhaps we should just all blame the screenwriters, who were the ones who came up with the dialogue.

Perhaps analyzing things like script, story, and motivation is a useless exercise when looking at a film like this, because it is certain that the filmmakers did not intend for the movie to be the next great dramatic epic. For all its faults though, O’Connell and Anderson do play well off one another on screen, in what at first appears like a very strange pairing, but the characters they play actually become somewhat endearing as the film progresses. Given the effort put into creating a realistic Kangaroo for the title character, and the emphasis on twelve year old humor, viewers of Kangaroo Jack will receive exactly what they pay for: brainless jokes and slapstick comedy with some impressive special effects and good Australian vistas.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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