Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile – Film Review
Directors – Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writers – Will Davies(screenplay by), Bernard Waber (based on the book series by)
Stars – Constance Wu, Javier Bardem, Scoot McNairy
Mr Primm (Scoot McNairy) and Mrs Primm (Constance Wu), along with their son Josh (Winslow Fegley) have just arrived in the big city for the first time. Mr Primm is just about to start his job teaching ‘Math’ (singular, not plural) in a private school. Part of the job entitles him to free accommodation in an old building in the centre of the city, but the building has a few secrets of its own, including a certain crocodile named Lyle that lives in its attic!
The one main quirk is that while the Crocodile can sing, he can’t speak! This is never explained at any great level, but if you’re watching a film about a singing Crocodile, you can probably let this unlikely fact pass.
There are a couple of other characters that are worthy of mention. These include the previous tenant of the house, the magician/ singer Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem), who found Lyle in a reptile house and recognised his impressive singing voice. The other is the man who lives in their basement Mr Grumps (Brett Gelman – Stranger Things), along with his prized possession, his cat!
The first section of the plot is amazingly straightforward, as each character meets Lyle, is initially shocked by him but then learns to appreciate his many talents! While this sounds dull, it is actually sweet and the all-singing crocodile is hard to ignore. The two parents are quite lacklustre as characters, but their son Josh is well-written. His attempts to win over friends at school are ‘standard issue’ but his nightlife with Lyle is enjoyable.
Some of the minor characters really help this story. Javier Bardem pumps the character of Valenti with humour and the film really comes alive during his scenes. Brett Gelman as the basement-dwelling Mr Grumps is the necessary bad guy and he plays the role extremely well.
As long as you don’t expect too many surprises from this film, you’ll enjoy what you see. There are a lot of musical numbers, so you’ll need to enjoy Shawn Mendes who adds his vocals to Lyle. The main song ‘Take a Look at us Now’ is a little overused but there is a good splash of 70s and 80s Motown and pop classics. This CGI Crocodile will no doubt prove to be a hit with the kids this autumn!
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