Fear the monsters that can bring Crocodile Dundee kicking and screaming into the modern era. How this Paul Hogan-led feature has stuck around in the minds of those longing for the days of classic 1980s hits for so long is worrying. A culture clash here and a blossoming romance there, and all is set for asinine antics abroad. What else are we to expect? It was the norm for comedies at the time, and while many could trundle along with a strong sense of sentimentality to it, many could only dream of hitting the highs of the New York-set love affair. Crocodile Dundee is one such dreamer, but forgets to take on a perception of reality, finding its head stuck far too high in the clouds.
Its iconography popping with gags and riffs on the pop culture of the time, Crocodile Dundee has major identity issues. It can never see itself as anything more than a long, lingering joke. Even when its characters are given places to go and people to see, there is still the underlying desire and need to have references to Michael Jackson or whatever else was popular during the mid-1980s. Good comedy is timeless. Crocodile Dundee places its trust and lifespan in the hands of references and meanings that do not stand up as well as they did thirty-five years before. A poor and shoddy amalgamation of many cultures, stereotypes and responses to the world around him steers Paul Hogan in the wrong direction. A shame, too, since he seems like a lovely man.
Implying that New Yorkers would do anything nice for an Australian, Crocodile Dundee has a nicety about it that feels rather ill-placed and thoughtless. That is, indeed, not a knife. But its Ozzie antics and gator-related comedy leaves much to be desired. With his skinned suit and alligator compadre, the swagger and gusto of Hogan is nice enough but is never given any time to breathe. We are inundated with cheap gags and obvious pretences that drone on with little vigour or gusto. At least he is likeable. The role he embodies, not so much, but Hogan strikes us as a man out of time here. He should not be on top of the world, yet somehow is. His reactions to the high life feel not just genuine, but always on the cusp of rewarding. It is a shame we never make it that far.
Instead, we trundle through stereotypes and opportune moments of pop culture guiding the soundtrack and the style. There are only so many jokes to be made for the fish out of water. He does not understand the typical American values of the 1980s. The stockbrokers in suits with their coke and their cocktails, it makes for a few funny jokes if you are to tune in and out of it on a drunken night in, but offers little else outside of that. The effort is there, remarkably so, but they are never clear on where they wish to take the man of The Outback. They do not take him anywhere but down, and he would be better off escaping these American-infested waters.