"If ever there was a date-film for 8 year olds then this would be it."
Combining thrilling action sequences, amusing comedy and a romantic sub-plot it should prove to be a blast for the younger generation. It’s a laugh-out-loud kind of film, where its stupidity and outrageousness doesn’t count against it but rather boosts its enjoyable presence providing a great matinee offering.Fans of George of the Jungle rejoice, Brendan Fraser is back as an equally dim-witted but lovable hero as Dudley Do-Right. Noted for his ability to play deadpan funny yet retain his charismatic presence, he gives just the right amount of slapstick and sincerity to make Dudley Do-Right a charmer. Fraser has had enough experience with family films that he doesn’t disappoint and continually allows us to warm to his character. Adult Fraser fans shouldn’t give this performance a miss either, the material may actually be more adult-oriented than you think.
The storyline might be a bit difficult for the young-uns to decipher but adults will find it hilariously inventive. The inclusion of Canadian jokes are side-splittingly funny with such lines as ‘Did you know Canadian bacon is actually ordinary ham?’. And with Fraser sporting an interchangeable Canadian Flag cover on his Nokia, its clear to see that director Hugh Wilson has worked equally hard on both the physical and dialogue aspects of the film.
The evil Snidley Whiplash (Alfred Molina) has set out to conquer over the community of Semi-Happy Valley where our hero Dudley works as a law-protecting young mountie. After convincing Dudley the woods are filled with vampires he ‘salts’ the local streams with gold setting off a nation-wide gold rush. As the locals have left due to the vampires, Snidley and his stupid but loyal team set up their own businesses in the town to ensure a very deceptive get-rich-quick scam.
Dudley comes into the story when Nell (Sarah Jessica Parker) returns from her round-the-world trip to fall in love with Snidley. As long-time-friends Dudley however was hoping Nell would come back to him and it is his task to re-capture her heart and in the process save Semi-Happy Valley from the demonic deeds of Snidley Whiplash.
There are patches however in the storyline that aren’t stable, moments which drag a touch too long and children may find these a little hard to sit through. These are few and far between however and the editors have trimmed this to a very neat and respective time of 83 minutes.
Though the costumes may be deceptively stereotypical, the characters show quite a generous amount of depth. At least the work of the fine three leads do anyway. Fraser as it has been said is wonderfully appealing, Sarah Jessica Parker is dumb but fun as Nell and Alfred Molina proves to be quite devious as the villain. Kathie Lee Gifford, America’s Kerri-Ann Kennerly and perhaps better known for her exploits on South Park also makes a memorable appearance on her own TV show.As a family film, its no Toy Story but the tone it sets shows it never wants to be. It’s good fun with jokes orientated for both adults and children. The comic-book characters are enjoyable to watch, the storyline invents new and exciting scenarios time and time again and the result is a clear-cut winner amongst family offerings so far this summer. (James Wong--filmnet.org.au)