2022 has seen the memeification of movies like Morbius and Minions: The Rise of Gru. However, nothing could have prepared the world for such a unique experience as Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. This musical stars Shawn Mendes as a singing crocodile named Lyle who lives in a Manhattan apartment. When a family moves into the apartment, their worlds are turned upside down in an adventure filled with pop songs, poor CGI, and the most conventional story ever told. There aren’t enough words to describe what this movie was about.
We have seen stories about a boy and his dog. We have seen stories about a boy and his robot. Now get ready for a story about a boy and his crocodile. The film introduces us to Lyle after his discovery by Hector P. Valenti, a charismatic magician played by Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem. After his acclaimed performance as a psychopathic murderer in There is no country for old people and fresh off of her Oscar-nominated performance in Be the Ricardos, Bardem appears as a singing and dynamic showman in a counter-type role. How did it happen? I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is that Bardem agreed to do this project, but he certainly acts his heart out in this film.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile then introduces us to the family. Our parents are played by Constance Wu and Scoot McNairy, and their son, Josh (Winslow Fegley), a neurotic child who moves to New York. He gets the most stereotypical and cliched introduction ever as a newcomer to school who eats his lunch alone, and no one pays attention to him. He gets bullied and all he wants is a friend. But luckily for him, a singing crocodile lives in his attic. After a fling or two, Josh and Lyle become best friends. Unfortunately, their friendship doesn’t feel appeased or natural, as they only reach that point because the script dictates.
However, there are so many problems with the execution of these ideas that it all becomes comical. For example, there should be a law against scenes where humans discover strange CGI creatures in their homes, and they yell at each other. We have seen this in sonic the hedgehogin Clifford the big red dog, and we get it again with Wu’s character bumping into Lyle taking a bath. In fact, the whole movie is incredibly formulaic and predictable. I knew what the whole movie would be about before it even started because it’s a retread of all the other family movies with that concept.
We have Clifford the big red dog less than a year before this film – another poorly written family film that tells a story almost identical to this one. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is unique because it is a living, singing crocodile interacting with real humans. That being said, this concept does not work at all. First, Shawn Mendes’ infamous pop song voice coming out of a crocodile sounds laughable. It doesn’t look or sound right because the voice acting and character design just don’t match. Second, Lyle doesn’t say a word of dialogue in this movie. Almost everything that comes out of his mouth is part of the film’s soundtrack. It feels less like a movie and more like a film adaptation of a Shawn Mendes album, with a giant crocodile thrown into the mix.
You won’t believe your eyes watching this crazy movie. It doesn’t even look like a real movie. It looks like a fever dream or a parody of a real movie. Like a fake movie shown on TV in the background of an actual movie scene. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is beyond hilarious in the most ironic way possible. Although it was the worst movie of the year, my jaw dropped several times and I had the most awkward smile. The story beats are ridiculous, and it feels like the movie never sets up any real character drama, but rather puts in pieces of it one at a time.
Additionally, the film has Josh meeting someone at school named Kara Delaney (Lyric Hurd). She shows up at first to send a friend request to Josh, completely disappears for about an hour, then shows up again, appearing to be friends with Josh. I feel like she got a lot of cut scenes because her character serves no purpose in the story except to help Josh once in the final act of the movie. The writing is so poor that it sometimes feels like the actors don’t even believe the dialogue that comes out of their mouths. It might be one of the most absurd experiences I’ve ever had because it’s rare that I watch a completely terrible movie, but it might also be one of the most amazing things. which I have never witnessed.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile can be a masterpiece. It’s brilliant in its own way. The songs are written by Pasek and Paul, two incredibly talented songwriters known for their work in La La Land, The greatest showmanand Dear Evan Hansen. Their songs are the strongest part of this film, as there are a few catchy ones, but it’s a film with lackluster direction and musical numbers. It’s the perfect movie for kids and inebriated adults. Would you like to see a living crocodile sitting in a courtroom? Yes, you absolutely would. Look no further than this masterpiece of an atrocity.
As GameSpot’s review policy explains, a score of 2 equates to “Terrible.” The film is almost unrecoverable and is probably a waste of time for almost everyone involved.
Disclosure: The critic attended CBS’s world premiere Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile exam.