Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Open wide…wider… and yawn

We are told that this is based on the beloved (that word should be the first red flag) series of children’s books about a singing (second red flag) crocodile that lives in New York City and that it’s the perfect family (third) entertainment.

Okay, cynicism aside, I realize it’s possible to make family movies based on popular children’s books that are engaging, entertaining and heartfelt, something that can be enjoyed by everyone. Like Paddington.

Paddington this is not.

A family new to their Big Apple home find living in their attic the titular alligator. Scream. Calm down. Open heart. Fall in love with the big guy. Snore. It seems, you see, that Lyle can speak, but only through phenomenally vapid tweener pop songs (voiced by Shawn Mendes) that sound like they were written by AI (my apologies to AI). Ditto that for the plot and the characters (painfully portrayed by Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy and Winslow Fegley). Bright spot: Javier Bardem’s off-the-rails perf as an old-school circus showman almost saves all this predictable drivel. Almost.

People ask me if I really watch all these movies all the way through. Well, yes, I do. But this one was a slog. Totally lacking in physical comedy or sight gags. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was SIX.

Suitable only as a babysitting movie, but only if you want your kids to grow up with very low entertainment standards. (106 min)