Kangaroo Jack (2003)
Jerry O'Connell, Anthony Anderson
Director: David McNally
Release Date: 6.24.03
The chase is
in when two bumbling Brooklyn buddies (Jerry OíConnell and
Anthony Anderson) sent to deliver a $50,000 mob pay envelope
(for Christopher Walken) cross paths with a hip-hopping
prankster of a kangaroo (uh, Jack) who sprints off with the
means is Kangaroo Jack is kidsí film and whoever
proclaims it as such must be mad. Case in point, Jim Ferguson of
FOX-TV, whose quote, "An action comedy for the entire family,"
appears on the front cover of the DVD. To that I say, "An
action comedy for the entire family except the kids." Right,
that sounds more applicable and sane. Another example is Neil
Rosen of NY-1 News/New York whose quote, "Kids will have a
hopping good time," appears on the back cover of the DVD.
Well, you can figure out how Iíd change that quote.
to my point, Kangaroo Jack is a poor excusive for a
family film when in fact the film plays more like a buddy comedy
just screaming for PG-13 material! I mean, at least thatís what
the script attempts to be, a buddy comedy. Steve Bing and Scott
Rosenberg sold this project as a pitch and then wrote the
script. Turns out after a test screening or two, Jerry
Bruckheimer got an idea to make this into more of a
kids-oriented feature by reshooting some scenes and creating
more screwball scenes of Kangaroo Jack, therefore retitling the
film from Down and Under to the odd, yet apt Kangaroo
want to state my opinion for the record (or lack thereof) to
question the integrity of the PG rating Kangaroo Jack is
classified with. The MPAA lists the following reasons for the
rating: language, crude humor, sensuality and violence. Call me a monkey,
well, a kangaroo under these circumstances, but since when are
such things okay for kids? They never have been and should never
be. Kids are the obvious marketing angle for this film, if you
didnít know. Perhaps the $66 million gross at the box office is
any indication of kids dragging their parents or parents
dragging their kids to the multiplex. If not, consider the
mysterious "Award Winner" label on the DVD cover, some sort of
award of excellence from the Film Advisory Board, Inc. What the
deuce? I have no clue who they are, so probably parents who took
their kids to see the film thought the label is a good-natured
indication of some sort.
The fact remains, even with a PG rating, Kangaroo Jack is
still a mess of a film. The whole kangaroo subplot, Jack
performing on-screen, mostly eating out of the red jacket, just
doesnít cut it. It breaks the flow of the film. The real story
here is with Jerry OíConnell and Anthony Anderson trying to make
it out of
Australia alive. After they realize (about an hour into the
film, Iíd say) that the money they are supposed to deliver to a
Mr. Smith is actually hit money for their own execution (so I
spoiled that part, sorry), the film goes into action mode,
somewhat. Not to mention the violence that ensues after said
part in the film (though violence appears earlier as well).
Sure, there are a few rewarding things about Kangaroo Jack.
For one, there humor is of general likeness (who can pass up on
farting camels). The characters are like cardboards, but that
doesnít mean they canít play off each other. OíDonnell and
Anderson might (or might not) seem like unlikely buddies in the
real world, yet in the film they get along and enjoy a good
friendship. Estella Warren also stars, but her character is more
convenient than absolute and refreshing (by golly, sheís the
only woman in this film, not to mention the desert of
Australia; at least in parts where the film takes place). What
Iím saying his, Warren brings her natural beauty and charm to a
film already falling through some cracks that are its flaws (how
about that symbolism). To spice things up, naturally, Warren and
OíConnell get together by the filmís end credits. In the end,
itís a romance that works just fine. Christopher Walken is also
in a few scenes, but it makes you wonder why he even showed up.
is as every bit of a Jerry Bruckheimer production as Coyote
Ugly. Both films are less than enthusiastic, but benefit
from a few rewarding things. Kangaroo Jack even sports
the look of a Jerry Bruckheimer production, with carefully
planned and executed (action) scenes photographed by Peter
Menzies, Jr. and director David McNally. The script shouldíve
stuck to its original pitch, but probably wouldnít have produced
any better results (if test screenings are any indication; and
here we are, anyway). Kangaroo Jack is not as awful or terrible
as many people proclaim. Itís just not very good in obvious
ways. It also is not a film for any kid to see. In the end,
Kangaroo Jack proves not everything is bad, just most of it.
Bros. presents Kangaroo Jack in 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen. I didnít notice any artifacts or compression
problems with this transfer. Grain or dirt doesnít show up
either. The print looks pretty clean, actually. The scenery and
landscapes of Australia are captured very nicely and this video
presentation makes the best of such scenes. The colors are nice,
some of them a little saturated. Color detail is also pretty
good, but also a bit soft in a few spots. Dark tones and black
level are mostly consistent.
Kangaroo Jack looks pretty good himself, despite him being a
CGI creation in most close-ups. Some scenes, such as the
waterfall kiss and night camp, are obviously set inside a sound
stage. The set design is very nice, but itís the look of the
sets that give away its real source. But anyways. Since this is
a Jerry Bruckheimer production, the video presentation should be
and is very good.
presents Kangaroo Jack in English Dolby Digital 5.1
Surround Sound. Thereís a lot of music in this film, especially
an instrumental variation of a Dr. Dre song that plays whenever
Jack is on screen and does something (supposedly) funny. Trevor
Rabinís score pops up a few times and generally carries a nice,
familiar tune (heís worked with Bruckheimer before on other
films). The other music consists of pop songs, some oldies, some
recent ones (the obligatory "Soak up the Sun" at the end).
Dialog scenes are clear and easy to understand.
soundtrack that uses this much music and even some good sound
effects, I might add, the Dolby Digital 5.1 applies nicely.
However, just because it applies nicely doesnít mean the
surround usage is all that great. Itís generally fine, mind you,
but not nearly as impressive as the video presentation. Overall,
Kangaroo Jack sounds perfectly fine with some good areas
of surround sound.
is also available in French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Jackís Good Buddies Ė To clarify, the buddies are Jerry
OíConnell, Anthony Anderson, Estella Warren, Director David
McNally and Visual Effects Supervisor Hoyt Yeatman. These guys
have a lot of fun talking about the film and amongst themselves.
They are very conversational and include trivia and jokes along
the way. The enthusiasm in their comments is clear, but itís a
little too bad the film theyíre talking about is not that
enthusiastic. Still, itís fun listening to them. Even if the
film is not very good, this commentary is in general.
Kangaroo Jack Ė Adam Garcia, the uncredited voice of the Jack,
provides a kind of bland commentary (all in Australian accent,
ahoy!) on selected scenes that feature the popular animal. This
feature runs some 14 minutes in length, but overall is not very
informative or exciting. The voice, whoever is responsible for
it, sounds excited and all that, but to no real effect as
listeners will probably tune out after the first three minutes.
Whatís the point of this, really? Jack is obviously a CG
character. I guess the purpose of this feature is look clever or
quirky, you know, boasting a commentary by Jack himself, but
really, in the end itís quite ridiculous.
Session: Uncut (~2 mins) Ė It feels more like Americaís
Funniest Home Videos: Animal Style, though this feature
edits together footage of various animals performing silly
tricks as well as a few who just happen to be in front of
someoneís camera. Itís like the Bob Saget show with dialogue
dubbed over the footage. Itís a nice little extra, somewhat
funny, but ultimately a little too short. But kids will love it!
Gas (~3 mins) Ė This feature explores the sound mixerís job of
finding the perfect sound for the flatulent camels in the film.
The humor in here is fine, but itís all just an act. The sound
mixer here is actually portrayed by an actor and so is the
supposed assistant. This is kind of odd, but kids will love it!
Outtakes (~3 mins) Ė This kind of feature is always fun to
watch. Some outtakes are funnier than others, but thatís beside
the point. Thereís one really natural, cute outtake between
Estella Warren and Jerry OíConnell. Just as she delivers her
line to him, a fly rests on her nose. Kids will love it!
Magic (~4 mins) Ė Here we get a look at the computer and
animatronics effects of the film. Kangaroo Jack talks over the
images, which becomes a bit redundant (especially after his
selected scenes commentary). Nevertheless, this feature shows
some nice clips of behind-the-scenes happenings, animatronics
and blue screen work, and scene to CGI comparisons. Kids will
Dance Grooves (~5 mins) Ė So this is where you can learn about
Jackís cool marsupial dance moves, but really itís just an
educational dance video jazzed up with background music and a
young instructor. Kids will have fun and will want to dance!
is the filmís Theatrical Trailer plus cast/director/writer film
highlights. In general, these features are geared more towards
kids. The film itself is geared towards kids even though itís
not suited up to be. The PG rating is also a little
questionable. I mean, really. The extras are cute to have around
and the angle on them is quite obvious, but their value is not
all too substantial for common blokes (these are geared towards
kids after all). The feature commentary is the only really
interesting extra here.
select to view the film with optional English, French and
Spanish subtitles. The DVDís menus are interactive, but not
animated. The 89-minute feature is organized into twenty-eight
is not all terrible; it does have some fun, rewarding parts,
though thatís the bulk of it. Itís not coherent as subplots are
confused between the ones that work and do not work. The video
presentation is very clear and the audio transfer is pretty
nice. Apart from a fun commentary, the rest of the special
features hold no real value (except kids will love it Ė OK,
thatís the last time Iíll repeat that sentence, ever). Kangaroo
Jack is better off collecting dust on the video store shelf,
however, if you care to have a hopping good time (hehe), you
should (maybe) rent it (but only if you can sucker the store
clerk out of paying full rental price). Thatís all, blokes!
As a side note, the film and this DVD never really acknowledge
that Kangaroo Jack is really only a CGI creature/presentation,
so the whole notion of referring to him as this actor or
whatever he is is just tiring and ridiculous. Seriously.
(not an average)