When Crocodile Dundee starts, it’s deceptively bold. For roughly the first half of the picture, Linda Kozlowski–without any previous theatrical credits on her filmography–is the protagonist. She’s not really believable as a tenacious newspaper reporter, but she works as Jane to Paul Hogan’s Tarzan. Sorry, Mick Dundee.
During that first half, when Dundee is the odd couple trekking across the Australian wilderness, Hogan is at his best. He’s playing what should be a comic role with complete seriousness. The approach endears Hogan so much he can survive the rocky second half, when the couple heads to New York for Kozlowski to show off her caveman.
Hogan’s able to survive the vague racism, bad soundtrack and mean-spirited homophobia. He’s so charming, one doesn’t even want to blame him… even though Hogan co-wrote the script.
Kozlowski, however, doesn’t do so well in the New York parts. She’s saddled with a boring boyfriend–Mark Blum is terrible–and a boring father. The father, played by Michael Lombard (who’s bad), shows up just to give the movie a couple more scenes. The writers clearly ran out of content for the New York half.
Director Faiman misuses the Panavision frame enough one has to think he was thinking about the inevitable VHS release, though there is a great tracking shot at the end of Central Park. His cinematographer, Russell Boyd, does a wonderful job, saving the visuals.
Peter Best’s score is sometimes sublime, sometimes awful.
Dundee is half a good comedy.
Directed by Peter Faiman; screenplay by John Cornell, Paul Hogan and Ken Shadie, based on a story by Hogan; director of photography, Russell Boyd; edited by David Stiven; music by Peter Best; production designer, Graham ‘Grace’ Walker; produced by Cornell; released by Hoyts Distribution.
Starring Paul Hogan (Mick Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charlton), John Meillon (Walter Reilly), Mark Blum (Richard Mason), David Gulpilil (Neville Bell), Michael Lombard (Sam Charlton) and Reginald VelJohnson (Gus).