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"DUDLEY DO-RIGHT"
(1999) (Brendan Fraser, Alfred Molina) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Heavy Mild Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor None Minor Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A Canadian Mountie hopes to thwart a villain's plans to swindle the unsuspecting and steal his girl. Based on the cartoon shorts featured in the TV series "Rocky and Bullwinkle."
PLOT:
Dudley Do-Right (BRENDAN FRASER) always wanted to be a Mountie for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ever since he was a boy, a fact that didn't set well with his childhood love Nell Fenwick or their villain-in-training associate, Snidely Whiplash.

Now an adult, Dudley is a dedicated but somewhat hapless law enforcer, a point that Whiplash (ALFRED MOLINA) hasn't overlooked. Telling the Mountie that the woods are filled with vampires -- a point that scares off Dudley's horse -- Whiplash sets into motion his plan to make him rich. Having illegally acquired most of the local town's mortgages and planting gold in and around Semi-Happy Valley, Whiplash hopes to evoke a fake gold rush and thus profit from the hordes of eager prospectors, including the area's poorest man (ERIC IDLE), who's the first to strike "gold."

Soon the town is crawling with visitors and Whiplash's popularity grows. To compound matters for Dudley, who tries to inform everyone of Whiplash's plan, but without success, Nell (SARAH JESSICA PARKER) has returned home after seeing the world, only to be swept away by Snidely's ways.

With Whiplash becoming ever more powerful and realizing he's got nothing to lose, Dudley -- with the help of the Prospector and a local Indian Chief (ALEX ROCCO) -- sets out to thwart the villain's plan and win back Nell.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
With much of the film aimed squarely at them (and with it starring Brendan "George of the Jungle" Fraser), it's probably a good bet many younger kid will want to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild comic action violence, and for brief language and innuendo.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BRENDAN FRASER plays the dedicated but somewhat dimwitted Mountie who decides he must play "dirty" with the villains in order to defeat them.
  • ALFRED MOLINA plays the head villain, a dastardly fellow who will stop at nothing to improve his own lot.
  • SARAH JESSICA PARKER plays Dudley's childhood love who's grown up into a worldly, but flighty young woman who can't decide whether she's better off with Dudley or Whiplash.
  • ERIC IDLE plays a poor prospector who helps train Dudley in the ways of being the "bad guy" to defeat Whiplash.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
    Although animated films aimed at kids have been successful for some time now, live-action films with a similar target audience have been met with varying degrees of acceptance. For every "Home Alone," there are plenty of movies such as "That Darn Cat" and "Meet the Deedles" that never caught on. Perhaps sensing that Saturday morning programming would be a good place to mine potential hits, Hollywood has started excavating old cartoon shows.

    With the success of 1997's "George of the Jungle" and this year's "Inspector Gadget," live-action kids films are suddenly making a comeback. With rumors of "Scooby Doo" and even "Lancelot Link" -- the 1970 simian version of "Get Smart" -- reportedly being somewhere in preproduction, don't be surprised if sometime in the future we're "treated" to big screen versions of "H.R. Pufnstuf" or "Josie and the Pussycats."

    Until then, we'll have to contend with the latest such incarnation, "Dudley Do-Right." Excuse me, I meant to say "Dudley Do-Wrong" because this misguided feature doesn't have much, if anything, "right" going for it. Based on Jay Ward's animated shorts that used to appear in the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle" show -- and occasionally featured the Canadian Mountie rescuing a tied- up damsel from the villain and an approaching train -- the film is another one of those "should've left it alone" projects.

    Although it attempts to emulate part of what made "George" so entertaining and popular -- and notwithstanding that imitation is, as they say, one of those good forms of flattery -- this picture, as written and directed by Hugh Wilson ("Blast From the Past," "The First Wives Club"), falls flat on its cinematic face. Whereas that Tarzan-inspired film, also based on a former Ward TV cartoon, managed to near perfectly capture the zany, if stupid antics of its animated predecessor, this one comes off just as lamebrained and inane.

    It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize this isn't meant to be high comedy or that too closely following the true spirit of a cartoon is risky business at best, but did anyone associated with this project -- particularly Wilson -- take the time to read what appeared in the script? To be as polite as possible, the story stinks. It also further demonstrates that attempting to turn any sort of short bit of entertainment -- be it a cartoon or most any "Saturday Night Live" skit -- into a full length movie is a difficult, if not impossible task.

    Like many kid oriented films, this one includes the obligatory slapstick style mayhem (such as a guy getting hit in the crotch) and scatological humor (farting sounds & bird excrement). To be fair, such material did elicit some laughs from the kids at our screening. Yet one must remember that kids aren't too discerning about what makes them laugh. Regardless of that, in the end such moments aren't that plentiful here and quite often the sound of restless viewers filled our theater -- and that wasn't just the kids.

    To its credit, the film does try -- at least on a theoretical level -- to entertain adults as well, much like "George of the Jungle" did. Nonetheless, such efforts are abysmal. While this film similarly uses the ever-present narrator who injects "humor" into the proceedings and even interacts with the onscreen characters -- an element that worked well in that previous film -- few if any of such instances are funny here.

    Even the moments that might elicit a chuckle or two from the audience -- a TV announcer reporting that Canadian bacon is really just ham -- are few and far between while others -- such as a briefly amusing American-Indian takeoff of the Riverdance phenomenon -- run on way too long after the humor has all but evaporated (and that particular one is painfully revisited once more later in the film).

    The same holds true for a dream sequence where Dudley finds his lost horse and runs toward him in slow motion as the song "Reunited" plays, and plays, and plays... and a motorcycle chase sequence through the woods that similarly appears for no apparent good reason or result.

    Unlike in "George," the performances here don't help matters much. Brendan Fraser ("The Mummy," "Gods and Monsters"), who successfully and enjoyably embodied the title character of that other film but is now in danger of being typecast in stupid, live-action remakes of cartoon characters, is as flat as the film. Although the character probably isn't that far off from his animated cousin, what works in a cartoon doesn't translate well onto the live, big screen.

    As Dudley's arch nemesis, Alfred Molina ("Boogie Nights," "The Impostors"), has the look just right -- the black top hat and handlebar mustache -- but that can't overcome his flat and weakly written character. The same holds true -- actually even more so -- for Sarah Jessica Parker ("Honeymoon in Vegas," "LA Story") as the flighty blond who should have been the damsel in distress, but never gets the opportunity.

    Former Monty Python member Eric Idle is yet again wasted in a role that doesn't take advantage of his now long dormant comedic skills, while Alex Rocco ("The Godfather," "Get Shorty") appears as an American-Indian caricature that had presumably last been seen several decades ago, but alas, has been resurrected here -- not surprisingly without humorous results.

    To make matters worse, the film follows a new version of those old "Fractured Fairy Tales" that also appeared on the original "Rocky & Bullwinkle" show. Named "the Phox, The Box & The Lox," it's far superior in every aspect -- and fortunately runs far shorter -- than the lumbering piece of schlock that unfortunately follows it. If you happen to be coerced into seeing "Dudley," make sure you get as much enjoyment out of that cartoon that precedes it, for you'll be in for a painful and torturous ride after that. We give "Dudley Do-Right" a weak 1 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated comedy aimed at kids. Although not everything that occurs is meant to be taken seriously, here's what's present. A great deal of cartoon-like violence occurs where plenty of firepower (guns, machine guns, tanks, etc...) are used in attempts to harm/kill the title character and some of that may be somewhat intense for some younger viewers. Other more slapstick style violence is also present, some of which kids may want to imitate.

    In addition to that, all of the villains have the standard comic book/cartoon style bad attitudes and behavior, and the film similarly offers the obligatory scatological humor (farting sounds, bird poop on a person's head, etc...) often found in kids films. Some drinking is present, with one supporting character being drunk and then having a hangover the next morning.

    Beyond all of that, the film's remaining categories are relatively void of any major objectionable content. Nonetheless, and especially considering that the film is aimed at younger kids, you may want to take a closer look at what's been listed should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home.

    Regarding the short G-rated cartoon, "The Phox, The Box & The Lox," the precedes the main film (that may or may not play in your theater or appear once on video), it contains a conniving fox (who gets his comeuppance), some slapstick style comedy (an oaf constantly hitting his head) and implied, but covered nudity (a young lass hiding herself behind foliage).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A man dressed as an American Indian may have been drinking a beer (he's holding a can, but it couldn't be identified).
  • People have drinks in a bar.
  • We see the first prospector (Eric Idle) walking along with a bottle of liquor and it's obvious he's quite drunk. The next morning, he also has a hangover.
  • People have wine in a restaurant.
  • Whiplash has some champagne and later has tropical drinks with his head minion (and then orders two "mud slingers").
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • In a few scenes were hear Dudley's horse farting.
  • A pigeon lands on Whiplash's head and defecates on him.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Not all of what occurs is meant to be taken seriously or at face value.
  • A young Whiplash takes Dudley's ice cream cone and puts it on the boy's head and he also states that he's going to grow up to be a bad guy since they get to have all of the fun.
  • As an adult, Whiplash and his associates have both for being (comic book/cartoon style) villains. As such, Whiplash robs a bank, plants fake gold to create another gold rush, ties up a bank president on some train tracks with a train approaching, kicks out a family after acquiring their mortgage, and repeatedly tries to kill Dudley.
  • Some viewers may take offense at a stereotypical representation of American Indians.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • It's possible that some of the youngest kids could find some scenes listed under "Violence" as tense (such as the villains chasing after Dudley, etc...), but most are played in an over-the-top, cartoon-like way.
  • Whiplash tells Dudley that there are vampires in the nearby woods, and the fact that it's nighttime, we hear wolf sounds and then later see Whiplash sporting vampire teeth to scare Dudley, all may frighten some kids.
  • We see Dudley running one of Whiplash's tied-up minions toward a large and spinning saw blade (but it turns out to be fake).
  • Dudley races on horseback toward tanks that are firing at him and at one moment he and his horse are knocked to the ground by an explosion (but are immediately okay).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Mortars/Tanks/Dynamite: Used by Whiplash and his team to threaten or try to wound Dudley and others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Shotgun: Used by Whiplash to fire "gold" dust onto mine walls or into streams.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What a bunch of wimps," "Stupid," "Idiots," "Freakin'," "Shut up," "I'm getting screwed," "Suck up," "Nuts" (crazy) and "Screwed."
  • A young Whiplash states that he's going to grow up to be a bad guy since they get to have all of the fun.
  • A young Whiplash takes Dudley's ice cream cone and puts it on the boy's head.
  • Dudley's horse occasionally blows raspberries (that elicited laughter from kids at our screening).
  • We see that Whiplash has a bank president tied up on some train tracks with a train approaching.
  • Afraid that vampires are nearby, Dudley carries a burning stick that then catches his hat on fire. Since it's played for laughs, kids might get the wrong idea about such matters.
  • As the prospector tells Dudley they're going to do a trust exercise where he'll throw rocks that will barely miss Dudley, they end up hitting the Mountie several times (that elicited laughs from kids).
  • Dudley shoots his initials into a wall with a machine gun.
  • We see that Whiplash's miniature golf course has been covered in toilet paper.
  • Whiplash paints some paint onto the forehead of one of his minions.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A few bits of playful and/or adventurous suspenseful music occur during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 crap and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a photo of Whiplash's head superimposed on the body of a male bodybuilder who's wearing just a very small, thong-like piece of clothing.
  • As Dudley and Nell start to kiss at the end of the movie, she pulls down a fake slide to prevent us from watching them.
  • SMOKING
  • Acting like General MacArthur storming the beach, Whiplash may have been carrying a pipe.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • That while the film ends with the narrator saying that only good things happen to those who are good (and bad things happen to those who are bad), Dudley resorts to some self-admitted bad behavior to defeat Whiplash.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The film contains some slapstick style moments that include Dudley as a kid and an adult falling backwards and out of a chair, and various floorboards popping up and hitting Dudley on the head (once sending him through a window -- and later, a board also hits Nell). Later, and as the prospector trains Dudley to be a tough guy, we see him do the following to Dudley. He hits him in the gut with a stick, and throws rocks that are supposed to just miss him, but instead hit him in the forehead, nose, and crotch. He then hits Dudley on the legs several times with a stick and finally over the head that sends the Mountie to the ground.
  • In cartoon material that plays during the opening credits, a train comically derails and crashes, a cartoon character drops off a standard cartoon bomb, Dudley shoots his gun at unseen people and Whiplash fires his tank at Dudley (but gets crushed by a rolling boulder instead).
  • Whiplash and many of his friends rob a bank at gunpoint. Later, when those friends think they've been double-crossed, one of them states that he's going to find Whiplash and kill him, albeit slowly.
  • After Whiplash fires a shotgun filled with gold dust into a mine wall, we hear that mine collapse on him (but he's okay).
  • We see that Whiplash has a bank president tied up on some train tracks with a train approaching.
  • Some cars crash into each other and then through toll booths at a border crossing.
  • Many bad guys walk in and hold their guns on Whiplash, but he quickly talks them out of doing him any harm.
  • One of Whiplash's minions plants dynamite all around Dudley's log cabin and then accidently detonates it (although we only see a huge fireball from a distance and then see the charred, but alive minion reporting back to Whiplash).
  • Seeing that Nell is now with Whiplash, Dudley reaches over and starts choking the prospector but stops once he realizes what he's doing.
  • Someone trips Dudley, sending him falling to a dance floor.
  • We see Dudley running one of Whiplash's tied-up minions toward a large and spinning saw blade (but it turns out to be fake).
  • Dudley shows up at one of Whiplash's outposts firing his machine gun (that catches a nearby helicopter on fire) and then shoots his initials into a wall.
  • As men chase Dudley through the woods on motorcycles, several of them wreck and wipe out.
  • Dudley's Indian friends launch fireworks at Whiplash and his approaching forces, hitting some of them with those fireworks.
  • As Whiplash and his army fire machine guns at Dudley, Nell and their Indian friends, the latter start throwing rocks back at the former and eventually send some large boulders careening down through the woods at them. Whiplash's forces then fire mortars at them, followed by plenty of artillery fire from tanks.
  • Dudley races on horseback toward the tanks that are firing at him and at one moment he and his horse are knocked to the ground by an explosion (but are immediately okay).
  • Two tanks shoot each other and both explode (with their occupants being charred, but otherwise okay).



  • Reviewed August 21, 1999 / Posted August 27, 1999

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