Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; Grade: C+
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile tells a story about an ordinary family moving into a Manhattan home. The son Josh (Winslow Fegley) is scared shitless, as he has total anxiety and fears he won’t connect to anybody at school, leaving him lonely. Fortunately for Josh that’s about to change, as he discovers a Crocodile by the name of Lyle (Shawn Mendes) lives in the attic. But this Crocodile is not just your average everyday man eating Croc… No sir, this Crocodile is a harmless Croc who can SING!! Witness a family, a has been showman, and a Crocodile all try to overcome their fears at hand.
I’m not too familiar with the books this is based off of, however I do recall the cute and simple illustration of the main character Mr. Lyle the Crocodile. I really have no idea what to expect, as I see a Crocodile in the bathtub, who looks like he’s having a blast bathing from the poster design. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile falls in line with the Peter Rabbit films: Entertainment that is more suitable for children, but even adults can find some kind of appreciation for it as well.
The story at hand is a working tale, of an individual trying to overcome any sort of fears they might have. Each main character in this film has some kind of minimal fear at play: Whether it’s Josh overcoming his fear of being fearful of his surroundings, his step mother (Constance Wu) being fearful of Josh’s well being, his father (Scoot McNairy) fearing to hold authority amongst a disrespectful classroom, or Lyle fearing to sing amongst a large crowd.
I feel the moral message of the story is one can overcome their fears at hand, if they have genuine support by a fellow friend or family encouraging them on. Lyle the Crocodile really made a significant impact on the entire family: With his encouragement to every single family member, they were able to overcome their fears, which in result made them a more secure and happier person. Pure friendship can do many wonders for people, so take the time to be a supportive friend as surely enough, you’ll better their life for the better… Nice sweet little message, especially for kids.
The whole musical aspect while not being strong… I at least appreciate the film having a firm balance from storytelling to musical sequences. Not one over shines the other, it was a good balance as I appreciate that it wasn’t over barring at all. I will say majority of the musical sequences worked just fine, sure there is one song I wish wasn’t repeated three times over, but at least it was bearable to hear.
I feel the special effects regarding the Crocodile… Wasn’t half bad. I feel it would’ve been more effective as 2-D animated film, however the live action design isn’t as repulsive to look at as sometimes the Gator looks adorable, more so when it was a baby Croc. As an Adult Croc… Has a couple minor issues, mostly relating to the Gator singing as it just doesn’t line up correctly at all.
I feel this film is fairly effective in terms of generating some cute little laughs here and there. I felt the whole antagonist of the douchebag neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman) was laughable in majority of his scenes, showing the true essence of how terrible New Yorkers are. Some of the humor works more towards the ridiculous skeptical of it all… I mean Javier Bardem playing the Showman character truly speaks for itself. But at least the goofiness isn’t tough to sit through, like you feel the genuine joy the cast is having with this, so at least I can experience some quality jokes and silliness of it all.
I felt the whole development between Josh and his friend from school was poorly developed, it looked like we were going to get more in depth with that friendship, but the film really doesn’t take it anywhere as it just randomly pops up here and there. I felt there were minor flaws within the cast, Scoot McNairy overacted in a few scenes, where Constance Wu brought in the worst musical performance of the entire film as she looked awkward in that lone sequence. Something about the unexpected character in the end… Didn’t feel needed at all, was weird.
Overall, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was a perfectly fine average film. I recommend checking this one out, it’s a nice family time out at the movies. -Mitch Smietana