Who would have guessed that a musical about a singing crocodile would be any good?
Not I. I had no interest in seeing Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile when it was in the theaters earlier this year. Honestly, I was not aware of the musical part initially, but all I thought it would be was some dumb, family-friendly snooze-fest. Well, it was certainly dumb and family-friendly, but it was anything but a snooze-fest. In fact, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was a lot of fun and had a charm that I did not expect.
We meet Lyle (voiced by Shawn Mendes) as a small, caged crocodile who could sing. Down on his luck singer Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) discovered the singing reptile and tried to get him to join his act. Unfortunately, Lyle had a horrible case of stage fright and could not perform in front of a crowd. Hector left Lyle behind in the brownstone. Lyle stayed in the attic until he was found by Josh (Winslow Fegley), whose family moved into one of the apartments of the brownstone.
Josh was shy and timid, but when he found Lyle, they eventually bonded and became close. He tried to hid Lyle’s existence from his mom (Constance Wu) and dad (Scoot McNairy). Things took another turn when Hector returned from the road to come back to Lyle.
The relationship between Josh and Lyle was a nice selling point. A boy and his crocodile? Not what one would expect.
Javier Bardem is fantastic in the role of Hector. He looks like he is having a blast with the singing and the dancing. Javier Bardem is a top line actor, and he brings a certain level of credibility to the movie that it might not have without him.
Stranger Things actor Brett Gelman played the downstairs villain Mr. Grumps, who was certain that Josh and his family were the worst thing ever. He had some connection to Hector that they play with later in the film for the conflict. This part did not feel as earned as some of the rest of the film.
Yes, there were some low brow humor, aimed at a younger audience that felt dumb to me (a few fart jokes for example), but that was kept at a minimum and did not distract me from the overall positives that I was seeing.
The special effects were fine, if not unremarkable. Nothing that I saw on the screen made me grimace in frustration. The music was good, though I am not familiar with Shawn Mendes much. There have been some enjoyable musicals in 2022 and this is the most unexpected.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was based on a mid-sixties children’s book of the same name by Bernard Waber. It is a reasonably entertaining movie that is great for all children. Younger kids are going to love this, and parents won’t hate seeing it.