Movie Review: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2022)

Synopsis: Struggling performer Hector Valentini thinks he finally found his big break when he discovers Lyle, a crocodile who can dance and sing. However, Lyle's crippling stage fright causes Hector to lose his house and leave Lyle behind as he hides from creditors. When a new family moves in, Lyle befriends the son, Josh, and later the parents, changing all their lives for the better. However, their unfriendly neighbor is determined to get them evicted.

Who's in it? The movie stars Winslow Fegley, Shawn Mendes, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy and Brett Gelman.

Review: None of us has ever read the children's book Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and weren't really sure what to expect from this film when we first saw advertisements for it while it was at theaters. It was family movie night last night and, since it is now available on Netflix, we decided to give it a try. It ended up being better than expected.

As far as family movies go, this film has a great message about overcoming your fears. Lyle (voiced by Mendes) was afraid of performing in front of an audience, Josh (Fegley) was afraid of living in Manhattan while his dad (McNairy) and stepmom (Wu) also had their own smaller fears. It was great seeing Lyle help them overcome their insecurities while still facing his own.

I'm not usually a big fan of musicals but will admit this one was one of the better ones. I think the thing I liked about it was how most of those scenes transitioned in a way where it took me a few seconds to realize it was a song and dance number and not just Lyle signing to communicate (he was unable to talk). The music was upbeat and fun, keeping the film lighthearted. 

I even liked the ending, though it was a bit predictable. It provided closure to the various stories while not being anything I would describe as too unbelievable (even in a movie that contains a singing and dancing crocodile).

My biggest complaint about the movie is I wish it would have given more of a backstory regarding their neighbor, Mr. Grumps (Gelman). It would have been one thing for them to make him angry after moving in but he was practically hostile before they even stepped inside their new home, and it felt like there should have been some sort of explanation about why he was like that. As far as antagonists are concerned, he was very one-dimensional, and a little depth might have made it easier to see things from his point of view.

I also kind of feel like they were leaving out something regarding the Primm family. Josh's dad and stepmom seemed very overprotective of him, almost as though something bad had happened before they moved. His stepmom was even willing to give up her career as a cookbook author to be a helicopter parent (yet didn't seem to notice when Josh snuck out at night with Lyle). It probably wouldn't have had a big impact on the movie, but details like that make characters' behavior more believable.

Final Opinion: It's a kid-friendly and entertaining movie that we enjoyed more than I thought we would. I'd recommend it.

My Grade: B+


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