BOING, BOING, boing goes the kangaroo, constantly evading the despairing clutches of Charlie (Jerry O'Connell) and Louis (Anthony Anderson), two Americans in Australia with a big problem.
In "Kangaroo Jack," a front-end collision of a family comedy, that problem is the red satin jacket the kangaroo is wearing.
Inside that jacket is a stash of money -- $50,000, to be precise -- which the two Americans have promised to deliver to a certain Mr. Smith in the Australian outback. Unfortunately, Louis got cute, put his "lucky jacket" onto the 'roo and started taking tourist pictures. Now they're chasing after the critter. Also on their trail are "Mr. Smith" -- that shady character who's expecting the money -- and a hood sent by Charlie's stepfather and mobster, Sal Maggio (Christopher Walken).
Where do you start with this? Charlie's a hairdresser and a huge disappointment to his father. Louis, Charlie's annoyingly quippy pal, gets both of them into trouble when he messes up a routine driving job for Sal, leading the cops right into one of Sal's operations. For punishment, Sal dispatches them to Australia to deliver the package.
When they're in Australia, there are two distinctive features to the movie: the mind-numbingly banal plot as one chases another who chases another, and all the offensive material. For instance, dizzy with fatigue and heat, Charlie and Louis spot wildlife conservationist Jessie (Estella Warren) standing before them. Thinking she's a mirage, Charlie clamps both hands on her breasts and declares: "Hey, these feel really real!"
Little Tommy and Becky will love that one!
Also to be relished: camels with flatulence (yes, camels in Australia), jokes about testicles shrinking, sexually provocative frolicking in the water, the usual jokes about getting drunk with an old Australian salt, and so on. The movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, famous for such adult action blockbusters as "Beverly Hills Cop," "Top Gun" and "Bad Boys."
Evidently he thought he could segue from the over-the-top violence, sexually salacious dialogue and tough-guy obscenity of his usual films to some fast-paced children's movie that preserved at least some of those tacky trademarks. It's a profound misjudgment. And it's also possible that, like the uninspired heroes in this story, he caught a little too much of that Australian sun.
KANGAROO JACK (PG, 84 minutes) -- Contains obscenity, crude humor, violence and salacious sexual material. Area theaters.