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Still shot from the movie: Kangaroo Jack.

Kangaroo Jack

As a young boy, Louis saves his friend from drowning in an ocean undercurrent on a hot summer day. Twenty years later, Charlie is a hairdresser with his own little shop in the heart of New York and Louis is a meat-house worker. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B-
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: B-
Language: B
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 89
Theater Release: 17 Jan 2003
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG
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Every good story in Charlie Carbone's (Jerry O'Connell) life starts with the words, "Louis and I". Regrettably, almost all of these tales seem to end up with Charlie and Louis (Anthony Anderson) in a lot of trouble.

As a young boy, Louis saves his friend from drowning in an ocean undercurrent on a hot summer day. Twenty years later, Charlie is a hairdresser with his own little shop in the heart of New York, thanks to his mob boss stepfather, Sal Maggio (Christopher Walken) who skims a weekly cut of the earnings. Louis, on the other hand, is a meat-house worker who takes on questionable part time employment to stretch his funds.

Stopping by the salon, Louis persuades Charlie to help him deliver a truckload of hot TVs. But when police recognize the stolen utility truck, a high-speed chase ensues and Louis unintentionally leads the police to a mob warehouse full of stolen goods. After things cool down, the two friends are forced to accept a job from Sal in order to redeem themselves.

Carrying an ordinary brown paper envelope filled with greenbacks, they catch a plane for the Outback with instructions to deliver the cash to a Mr. Smith (Marton Csokas). After Charlie undergoes a strip search at the Australian customs office, the two foreigners are on their way. Speeding across the desert to their rendezvous point, they accidentally hit a wild kangaroo with their jeep. Before pulling the lifeless animal off the road, they discover this marsupial looks surprisingly similar to their Brooklyn buddy "Jackie Legs". Dressing the stunned kangaroo in Louis' lucky jacket and a pair of shades, they start snapping pictures to show the guys back home.

When the grown up Joey suddenly comes around and bounds off into the wilderness, Charlie and Louis discover their bundle of bills is stashed in the coat pocket. Recruiting the help of Jessie (Estella Warren), an American wild life conversationalist and a grizzled bush pilot named Blue (Bill Hunter), the two young men start combing the backwoods in search of the expensive jacket before the irritated Mr. Smith and his thugs catch up with them.

Better known for adult films like Black Hawk Down, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, producer Jerry Bruckheimer has taken on the task of making a more family friendly film. However, this script still includes several sexually suggestive jokes, an alcohol guzzling contest, profanities and plenty of bathroom/flatulence humor. Both cops and criminals resort to using guns and during at least one scene; Charlie is threatened when a knife held at his throat.

Lacking the same kind of educational morsels found in films like the Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, this storyline races through the Outback in an attempt to show the depth of friendship between Charlie and Louis. But after watching these two buddies fumble their way through one adventure after another, I began to think incompetence is likely the cement that keeps them together.

Kangaroo Jack is rated PG: for language, crude humor, sensuality and violence.

Cast: Jerry O'Connell, Anthony Anderson
Website: Official site for Kangaroo Jack.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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