Review by Adam Donato
Glory be, it’s October! The Halloween season is among us and movies are starting to get spookier. Even the kids need something to see in the theater. Enter Lyle Lyle Crocodile: a movie about a lonely crocodile who gets taken in by a friendly family, but he has a special talent in his singing ability. From the writer of How to Train your Dragon and Flushed Away and from the directing duo known for Blades of Glory and Office Christmas Party comes a movie that definitely exists. For some children, a singing crocodile will suffice, but does this live-action family musical have enough to keep adults awake?
Even in the summer of 2021, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway still brought it over three times its budget. Why not adapt another piece of children’s literature in the same vein? While they do their best to paint Lyle as this cute character, it’s nowhere near the likes of Paddington or Peter Rabbit. He sings sometimes, but he can’t speak. So where Paddington and Peter Rabbit were able to function on their own, Lyle is constantly needing company. That company is subpar. Winslow Fegley, which is the name of a child, is his nervous compatriot throughout the movie and he’s an annoying child actor like most of them. Scoot McNairy is cringe. Constance Wu is the only human other than Javier Bardem to have a song. That brings us to Javier Bardem, who is boldly going for it and to an extent, his performance is the best part about the movie.
With the musical stylings of the people who brought us The Greatest Showman and a leading man in Shawn Mendes, an older demographic might be enticed to enjoy this for the music. There’s not a ton of musicals on the big screen these days. The songs in Lyle Lyle Crocodile are generically fun, but mostly forgettable. The main songs "Top of the World" and "Take a Look at Us Now" are spammed throughout the movie. Both are good enough, but that's definitely where the quality stops. That's the nicest way of saying it is there certainly won’t be an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song... at least, hopefully not.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile is generally inoffensive children's fare, but it deserves to be maligned for its mediocrity. The plot is outwardly annoying. There are just as many cringe moments as there are funny moments. There’s no downloadable songs on the soundtrack. The “cute” main character is at the bottom of the barrel when standing amongst its peers. This will probably do alright at the box office since there is a void of family entertainment at theaters these days. It’s a worse version of other things and deserves the minimum amount of credit. It’s cute enough to be passable.
If the kids are old enough to sit through Avatar, rewatch that. This weekend, Lyle Lyle Crocodile competes with Amsterdam and so expect those movies to not interfere with each other. General audiences are sure to find Lyle Lyle Crocodile to be charming and pure in spirit, but there’s nothing special about this crocodile. Hold out for Disney to show out this November.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile hits theaters on October 7.