There are two reasons why I hope "Kangaroo Jack" never plays in Australia. The first reason is because America is usually good at filmmaking and is known for producing good movies. If the Australians saw this, they may never want to see another American movie ever again. The second reason why I hope "Kangaroo Jack" never shows in Australia is because their people will probably be too drunk to appreciate how awful this movie that stereotypes the 'country' of Australia truly is.
Charlie Carbone (Jerry O'Connell) is a hairstylist at a Brooklyn Salon. The store was given to him by his mobster step-dad, Sal, played by Christopher Walken who should have already fired his agent for allowing a respectable actor to look like a fool as a mafia crime-boss--whose Italian accent is so phony that it makes those morons in the Olive Garden commercials look Italian eating Italian food.
Charlie fears his step-dad, and generally stays out of his way. He is best friends with a guy named Louis (Anthony Anderson (I)), who is an even bigger idiot than Charlie. Louis is always getting into trouble for making illegal deliveries when he thinks he is doing legitimate work. Sure enough, we see him asking Charlie to help him move some unmarked televisions from one location to another. As they are driving down the Brooklyn Streets in their delivery truck, the police soon attempt to pull them over for driving a stolen vehicle. But Louis can't pull over because he is on probation for the last illegal job he took part in. The chase is on.
Chase scenes can be one of two things: An exciting part of the movie, or completely out of place as an excuse to show-off rented exotic sports cars. In this case, the chase is about 20 squad cars pursuing a clunky delivery truck. The delivery truck wins. When it's over, Charlie and Louis find out that almost all of the televisions were damaged; televisions that belonged to Sal. In order to repay the damages, Charlie and Louis must take an envelope to Australia and personally deliver it to a guy named Mr. Smith. They aren't allowed to open to envelope nor are they told what's inside.
The scary part is, I actually attempted to follow the story. I attempted to engage. But the questions kept coming. What two idiots don't know what is in a stuffed envelope handed to them by the mafia? These wads don't figure it out until Louis finally opens the envelope while they're on the plane to Australia.
"Oh my god! Look inside, Charlie!"
"Louis! You know we weren't supposed to open that…oh my god, there's money in this envelope!"
While they counted the $50,000, I wondered why Sal didn't tell them what was in the envelope. You'd think he'd want to make sure Charlie and Louis would guard the money with their lives, but why should they when they don't know how valuable the package is?
Charlie and Louis finally get to Australia and proceed to find Mr. Smith. Charlie accidentally runs over a kangaroo in their SUV that appears to have been killed. Louis puts his jacket (that contains the money) around the corpse for a quick camera shoot. I guess some people take pictures for memories, others like to decorate road-kill in their clothes for laughs. But the kangaroo wakes up and takes off with the money and the jacket. Knowing they will need help catching Jack, Charlie and Louis run into a bar full of drunken locals. One of the patrons they meet is named Blue, a Santa look-alike who can drink anybody under the table. He speaks gibberish, as all Australians do in Steve Bing's screenplay.
They meet a beautiful girl named Jessie (Estella Warren), who works for a company that breeds endangered native animals. We can understand her, because she is the first American they encounter on the continent. She shows Charlie and Louis a rabbit-like species but says she won't be able to breed them because the group she works for has no money. This is the first time I laughed, and we're talking a good 30 minutes into the movie. Isn't it convenient that she needs money, and that the guys who can help her out have some, if only she in return helps them capture Jack? Another question, how much funding do you need to breed animals? I guess the Australian treasury is miniscule in comparison to others. But this dilemma gives our lucky hero, Charlie, the chance to win her heart over. But don't worry, it's not that easy. They don't fall in love right away, as no couple in the movies do.
Now you may be asking yourself why Sal would risk $50,000 sending his son and Louis all the way to Australia to make a delivery to Mr. Smith. It's a spoiler, so I'll tell you in the last paragraph of the review. Normally I don't give away such details, but if it means convincing you to avoid this reeking pile of sewage, then it was worth my sacrifice.
If "Kangaroo Jack" would have been appropriate for children, I wouldn't have rated this any lower than a 'C.' After all, kids do like movies that adults don't, but I wouldn't want young kids to see this. This is not a children's movie There are enough sexual references and talks of testicles to make every parent in the theater uncomfortable. Charlie fondles up what he thinks is a mirage, and eventually makes out with his new girlfriend in a whirlpool that is supposed to be a natural waterfall in the Australian Outback. I've seen better set designs in a Kindergarten Christmas play where the sets were constructed by 5-year olds.
There is not one funny line from the script. Oh, I did laugh; when the plot reached new lows. I laughed when I saw Charlie and Jessie making out in a sauna in the middle of the desert. I laughed when Sal sent his cronies to recover the money after his son botched yet another job. The supposed-to-be mobsters are nothing more than goofy idiots.
"Are you here in Australia to visit family?" an official asks.
"Yes. I am here to take care of family." If the suspenseful music doesn't give it away, then the woman should have at least caught the evil grin coming from the henchman. Must be stupid Australian syndrome. The only thing missing from the reply was the MUWHAHAHAHA.
You may be asking to yourself why I am not mentioning the kangaroo more in this review. I wish I could, but kangaroo Jack hardly makes an appearance. There are some misleading commercials and trailers floating around that show a lively talking kangaroo causing mischief and getting into trouble. But that scene only occurs in a dream. We rarely see the kangaroo. Instead, we get the privilege of following dumb and dumber as they try to catch an animal that is obviously more intelligent than both of them.
The acting is atrocious. Jerry O'Connell laughs more than the audience does when he is hanging off a cliff, about to crash in a plane after the drunken pilot falls unconscious, or some other event that calls for seriousness. Anthony Anderson is that high-pitched annoying guy who has potential to be funny. He played one of the ATM robbers in "Barbershop," a much better role than the token black best friend character in "Kangaroo Jack." He cracks a lot of jokes, but most of them are awful. I lost count of the number of racial jokes he makes. "I'm a fat black guy and you're a skinny white dude," he would say repeatedly.
I apologize to the people of Australia on behalf of every American. With the possible exception of the filmmakers, this is not what we Americans believe Australians to be. It may be a little early, but I'm still calling "Kangaroo Jack" one of the stupidest movies of 2003. Not only is the acting pathetic, the plot is one of the worst in modern cinema. The ending makes a serious attempt to be emotional, again this is one of the rare times I laughed when director David McNally probably wanted tears. But this is why I review movies; to spare viewers the suffering I went through while watching "Kangaroo Jack."
Now for the spoiler. If you plan on seeing "Kangaroo Jack," please stop reading. The reason why Charlie and Louis were sent by Sal to Australia was so that Mr. Smith could execute them. That's right, Mr. Smith is a hit man. That's right, the mafia; an organization that specializes in murder, spent $50,000 plus airfare to have two goons "whacked." Please let me know if you can think of a worse plot.