THE VERY EXCELLENT MR. DUNDEE – Review by Susan Granger

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Back in the mid-1980s, cheeky Australian comedian Paul Hogan became an international superstar with Crocodile Dundee, earning a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination which led to a co-hosting gig at the 1987 Academy Awards.

After that came less successful sequels, Crocodile Dundee II and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Now admittedly 80, he’s divorced from his Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski and retired, enjoying laid-back living in Los Angeles with his grown son, Chase (Jacob Elordi).

Suddenly, his agent/manager (Rachael Carpani) summons him, telling him that the Queen wants to bestow a knighthood upon him for services to comedy. (The fact that Australian citizens no longer receive this honor is ignored.)

At first, Hogan is reluctant but he’s encouraged to accept this honor by his young granddaughter (Charlotte Stent), who‘s making her stage debut in a school play in Australia.

That’s the beginning, middle and end of anything that makes a shred of sense, including a splashy musical number about a knife.

Riding the upcoming publicity bandwagon, some studio nitwits want Hogan to revive the Dundee character with Will Smith as his son. When Hogan points out the obvious, the tabloids accuse him of racism. That’s amplified when he mistakenly appears at the Black Talent Awards, instead of a fundraiser for underprivileged children that’s been organized by Olivia Newton-John.

Sloppily scripted by Robert Mond and director Dean Murphy, the ‘son’ concept gets dropped, even though amiable Jacob Elordi’s right there – waiting to be summoned.

Instead, there are slapstick bits as hapless Hogan socializes with Chevy Chase, plus John Cleese as Hogan’s unlicensed ‘Uber driver’ and Wayne Knight as his annoying, unwanted houseguest.

In a preposterous subplot, genial Hogan befriends an aspiring paparazzo (Nate Torrence), looking for celebrities. None of this is even remotely funny. Indeed, it’s rather pathetic, as are cameos of fellow Aussies Luke Hemsworth, Mel Gibson and Jim Jeffries.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee is a disappointing 4 – a sad self-parody.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.