Director: Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Cast: Shawn Mendes, Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley, Brett Gelman
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Sony Pictures
Opening Day: 1 December 2022
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling book series by Bernard Waber, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, starring Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem, Constance Wu and Shawn Mendes, is a live-action/CGI musical comedy that brings this beloved character to a new, global audience. When the Primm family (Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley) moves to New York City, their young son Josh struggles to adapt to his new school and new friends. All of that changes when he discovers Lyle - a singing crocodile (Mendes) who loves baths, caviar and great music-living in the attic of his new home. The two become fast friends, but when Lyle’s existence is threatened by evil neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman), the Primms must band together with Lyle’s charismatic owner, Hector P. Valenti (Bardem), to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places and there’s nothing wrong with a big singing crocodile with an even bigger personality.
This movie features a singing crocodile. That’s all you really need to know to enjoy this exceptionally cheery adaptation of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and its prequel The House on East 88th Streetby Bernard Waber.
Oh, there’s also a singing and dancing Javier Bardem. And he’s a blast to watch.
The Spanish actor plays Hector P. Valent, a magician who is constantly trying to find his big break on stage. Unfortunately, he constantly fails. He thinks his career is going to change when he chances upon a singing baby crocodile in a pet shop one day. The reptile whom Hector names Lyle sings really well like Shawn Mendes (the Canadian pop star makes his feature film debut by providing the vocals), but alas, it experiences stage fright during the duo’s big night. This leads to Hector leaving Lyle in the attic they have been living in to find other opportunities.
Fast forward 18 months and we see Mr and Mrs Primm (Scoot McNairy and Constance Wu) move into the apartment with their son Josh (Winslow Fegley). No prizes for guessing that Josh will make friends with Lyle and the whole family will enjoy its company. Yup, there will also be jovial song and dance sequences showcasing the
The musical comedy film is definitely one that will entertain the kids, but it is also extremely enjoyable for older viewers. When was the last time you watched a movie that is so wonderfully positive without any cynicism? There are no wise cracking characters and no references to pop culture. Instead of sniggering at self referential humour, you’d be smiling from ear to ear frequently during this 107 minute movie because of its tremendously positive vibes.
The musical features eight songs composed by Mendes and songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who are known for their work on La La Land (2016) and The Greatest Showman (2017). That’s why you can expect infectious tunes with lyrics that fit right into the movie, and these sequences will have you tapping your feet or even humming along. After watching the movie, you’ll likely put the soundtrack on repeat. The album also features songs by Stevie Wonder and Elton John (give yourself a pat on the back if you can guess song performed by the Rocket Man made it to the track list).
Bardem, who terrified viewers with his Oscar winning performance as the psychopathic assassin Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men (2007), is a joy to watch on the big screen. He croons with Mendes in his raspy coarse voice, and dances like there’s no tomorrow in “Take A Look At Us Now”. It would be wonderful to see a live performance with Shawn and Bardem if this song is nominated during the award season. We are pretty sure we’d be smiling from ear to ear throughout the performance.
(An absolute joy to watch, this delightfully positive musical comedy will have you smiling from ear to ear)
Review by John Li