I am sure that actor Jerry O'Connell enjoyed his trip to Australia and kissing Estella Warren more than most adults will enjoy KANGAROO JACK ($28). With its penchant for bathroom humor and occasionally annoying characters, KANGAROO JACK is a "family movie" that will most likely only appeal to tweens and teens. While Iíll usually laugh at most anything remotely funny, this movie had me chuckling only a handful of times (and groaning impatiently the rest of the time). About the only thing in KANGAROO JACK that held my interest were the scenes with the beautiful Estella Warren, but then again, Iíd enjoy watching her read the phonebook.
The plot of KANGAROO JACK revolves around Brooklyn hairdresser Charlie Carbone (Jerry O'Connell), who runs afoul of his mob boss stepfather Sal (Christopher Walken), while helping out his irresponsible best friend Louis Booker (Anthony Anderson) in one of his usual harebrained schemes. To make up for their misdeeds, Sal sends Charlie and Louis to the Australian outback to deliver an envelope, which they are not to open under any circumstance. As expected, Louis opens the envelope, while in traveling to the land down under, and discovers it contains $50,000.00 in cash. Then while driving through the outback to their appointed rendezvous, Charlie and Louis have a run in with a kangaroo, that ends up wearing Louisí lucky jacket, and hopping away with the $50,000.00 in the pocket.
The rest of the movie follows our intrepid heroesí quest to catch the kangaroo and get the money back, while avoiding the bad guy that they were to deliver the money in the first place. Into this mess comes a lovely American girl named Jessie (Estella Warren), who saves Charlie and Louis from dying of thirst out in the middle of nowhere. With an offer of money to help Jessie with her wildlife cause, our two boys from Brooklyn have suddenly seem to have and actual chance of catching the $50,000.00 kangaroo. One last note about KANGAROO JACK-- those of you expecting to see a movie with the talking and rapping Kangaroo of television commercials and movie trailers are going to be a bit disappointed- as this CGI creation appears only briefly, when one of our water-deprived heroes begins hallucinating.
Warner Home Video has made KANGAROO JACK available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. While the movie is no great shakes, KANGAROO JACK the DVD is pretty marvelous looking. The image is crisp and well defined, with the filmís attractive cinematography looking like a travelogue of the Australian outback. Colors appear rich and vibrant, while the flesh tones are always appealing. Neither chroma noise nor smearing are present to mar the fine color reproduction. Blacks are right on the money, whites are stable and the image produces excellent shadow detail and depth. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed on the eighty-nine minute movie.
KANGAROO JACK comes with a terrific sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The action elements of the sound design take it out of the realm of a standard comedy mix, which allows for some aggressively deployed sound effects that make good use of all the discrete channels. The comedy elements provide for a lot of unnecessarily loud shrieking, as well as some nicely integrated bits of popular music. Speaking of the music, it is always reproduced with excellent fidelity. The bass channel delivers a rock Ďem sock Ďem punch for the filmís sound effects and occasionally the musical portion of the mix. Dialogue is always completely intelligible, although there were moments that I wished it wasnít. French and Spanish 5.1 tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVDís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDís supplements. Director David McNally, actors Jerry O'Connell, Estella Warren and Anthony Anderson, plus visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman are on hand for the first of the DVDís two audio commentary tracks. A scene specific commentary with Kangaroo Jack himself (or at least the actor that voiced him in the movie) is also provided. There are times that the commentaries are a bit more entertaining than the movie itself, with the comments on the filmís CGI visual effects being fairly interesting. Many of the other supplements seem geared towards the kids, especially the Auditions, Behind The Gas and Jackie Leg's Dance Grooves segments. A theatrical trailer, outtakes and cast & crew filmographies close out the supplements.
KANGAROO JACK is a "family movie" that I doubt too many adults will have the patience to sit through. However, if you are like me and would enjoy watching Estella Warren read the phonebook, you may get some small pleasure out of KANGAROO JACK. As for the DVD, it looks and sounds great, so you canít go wrong in that department.
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