Judge Maurice Cobbs wonders what is less appropriate for a kids' movie—booty-dancing cartoon girls, or lengthy fart jokes in glorious 5.1 surround sound?
Jackie Legs is hip-hoppin' his way to the USA!
That's right, it's the latest zany adventure of everyone's favorite rapping marsupial! This time, Jackie Legs (Jeff Bennett, voice of the immortal Johnny Bravo) gets snatched by some pretty cold-blooded poachers—but when Jackie's wacky pals Louis, Charlie, and Jessie try to save him, they all get mixed up in some king-sized trouble involving mystical jewels, the FBI, international smugglers, Las Vegas, a boxing match, shampoo, two goofy crooks, and a whole lotta marsupialian misadventures!
Give me a stinkin' break.
In the first place, why would anyone want to make a sequel of any kind to a movie as insipid as Kangaroo Jack? There must have been a rare cloud of good taste and common sense over Hollywood the day this mess was greenlighted, since somebody decided (wisely) not to invest in another live-action disaster like the first movie. Instead, they've animated it, ripped off the plot of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and delivered a script chock-full of gags that were stale when they appeared 40 years ago in "Archie Comics."
The feature is a meandering mess, starting out with the human characters from the movie—Louis Booker (voiced here by Ahmed Best of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace infamy), Charlie Carbone (Josh Keaton, who was the voice of one of Doc Brown's kids on the Back to the Future cartoon) and his wife Jessie (Kath Soucie, Princess What's-Her-Name from Earthworm Jim…this is fun!)—returning to Australia in search of some sort of rare berry to put into their shampoo. They consult with an Aboriginal shaman, who isn't as interested in helping them get the berries as he is in getting them to find the four magical gems that have been stolen from his village, citing some ancient cave paintings that seem to indicate that our heroes are "The Chosen Ones." They leave, berriless, apparently to wander aimlessly through the outback, when they recognize their pal Jackie Legs (out of all the other nearly identical kangaroos out there), who is promptly snatched by poachers and crated for shipment to Las Vegas. Our heroes stow away in another crate (as opposed to, say, calling the police or something) and set the stage for all the fart jokes you could ever possibly want. Meanwhile, Jessie—in all seriousness—wonders aloud, "Who could possibly want all these wild animals in Las Vegas?"
Once in Vegas, the trio slip through an FBI dragnet with the unconscious kangaroo and hook up with Louis' cousin Ronald (Keith Diamond, voice of Agent Jay on the animated Men In Black). Unbeknownst to them, the Feds have wrongly identified them as the bad guys. But when Jackie Legs wakes, he leaps out of the car and disappears into a casino. The three friends give chase; Jackie destroys a buffet line, then winds up in a boxing match while rapping L.L. Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" (with an Aussie accent, of course), then later ski-boards and attempts to escape two bungling crooks and a fat, evil crocodile hunter, who frames…oh, I'm not gonna bug you with the rest of this crap. Just suffice it to say that everything works out in the end.
Despite the idiocy of the main feature, some of the special features are strangely interesting. The rather brief National Geographic "Walkabout Talkabout" feature is neat, if a little surreal, giving a very brief history of the Aborigine people and an overview of the animals of the Australian continent, plus a whirlwind tour of Sydney. "Walkabout" would have been better, in my opinion, if it had been hosted by Jenny Agutter instead of Jackie Legs and that strange, wild-haired, dead-eyed cartoon child, but I suppose that it's a matter of personal taste. But I think that we can all agree that koala bears are really too cute for words.
There's an odd little rap in the middle of this feature:
The kookaburra's call in a tree just hipped us
You can't teach these kids today a darn thing without that rap stuff. Fortunately, it's a sing-along.
The animated music video, "We Keep It Jump'n" by—I'm not making this up—Jackie Legs and the Funky Roos, isn't a sing-along, but if you're lucky, your kids will pick it up in no time and sing it incessantly. Let's get it crunk! The "Animation 101" feature isn't really much about animation, but you can watch one of the artists do a picture of Jackie Legs. By the time I got to the "Search for Jackie Legs" game, the last thing in the world that I wanted was more of that infernal kangaroo, but for those who just can't get enough, you can slip the disc into a DVD-Rom drive and get even more Jackie Legs fun. I shudder to think.
Warner Bros. has lots of animation available on DVD, and the vast majority is better than this nonsense. Unless you just have a thing for rapping kangaroos, this is the sort of thing that is better left to collect dust on store shelves—or better yet, to fill holes in the local landfill.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• National Geographic's "Walkabout Talkabout"
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