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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, October 30, 2014 - Edition No 921 

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DUDLEY DO-RIGHT

SYNOPSIS:
In the Canadian Rockies community of Semi-Happy Valley, dastardly villain Snidley Whiplash (Alfred Molina) and his band of outlaws sieze the property of the townsfolk and organise a fake gold rush. With thousands of prospectors storming into the area only dedicated but clumsy Mountie Dudley Do-Right (Brendan Fraser) stands in Whiplash's path. Do-Right's initial efforts to thwart Whiplash end disastrously and matters get worse when his sweetheart, Nell Fenwick (Sarah Jessica Parker), falls for the charms of his nemesis. Stripped of his badge and his girl, the usually sweet and nave Do-Right transforms into a masked avenger determined to restore peace in the renamed Whiplash City.

"Oh dear, what went wrong. An embarrassment for all concerned, Dudley Do-Right is more a case of Dudley Do Nothing Right. What was funny for kids and savvy adults as a 60's cartoon turns into an ordeal by boredom for all in a dismal attempt to capture the anarchic spirit which made Dudley and the gang good company in five minute instalments during the Rocky and Bullwinkle show on Saturday morning TV. This live-action Dudley has the annoying habit of presenting potentially humorous elements (a prospector played by Eric Idle and a troupe of Waterdance-inspired Native American cabaret artists led by Alex Rocco among them) but it's done so clumsily we're not amused by what should have worked. Brendan Fraser and Alfred Molina's physical approximation of the characters is a slight plus but the attempt to make Nell less a damsel in distress and more a woman of the world leaves the character played by Sex In The City star Sarah Jessica Parker out in the cold. We might be grateful for the brief running time and the inclusion of an all-new and very funny fractured fairy tale before the main feature although this hardly constitutes a good reason to sit through a pretty sad affair. Perhaps the most telling point is the background of Dudley Do-Right's writer/director Hugh Wilson. He may have done The First Wives Club recently but, like a criminal who can never escape his past misdemeanours, he also gave the world the Police Academy series. Enough said."
Richard Kuipers


"Hollywood is clearly struggling now. Those in Hollywood without an imagination that is. Which, unfortunately seems to be quite a number. When they run out of successful films to imitate, they dredge up the afternoon TV shows we used to watch as kids: The Brady Bunch, Batman, The Flintstones et al. Now, none of these were great entertainment, but when you're a kid and not allowed to watch Number 96 and desperate to avoid homework, these are what you were left with. At the bottom of the barrel (well below Jay Ward's other creations such as Rocky and Bullwinkle) was Dudley DoRight in his already dated melodrama schtick. If it was dated back then as animated slapstick, you should see it now. Actually, you shouldn't. Director Hugh Wilson's script doesn't give Brendan Fraser a whole lot to work with other than mugging his way through a series of Three Stooges type physical gags where he must constantly react to such hysterical setups as being hit on the head by floorboards. Alfred Molina's villain has some nice setups but the reality is that melodrama has well and truly had its day. This is never more obvious than with the performance of poor Sarah Jessica Parker. Despite the fact we are told that Nell has evolved into an ambassador for Guam, nothing else in the script tells us this. For the rest of the time she is left to simply react to male attention. Even Python's Eric Idle struggles to find the humour. Perhaps the best moments are the cynicism of the Brooklyn 'Indians' show, the dance numbers, and the new Fractured Fairytale before the feature. But overall, it won't work for kids and it doesn't work as nostalgia."
Lee Gough



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

TRAILER


DUDLEY DO-RIGHT (G)
(US)

CAST: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alfred Molina, Robert Prosky

DIRECTOR: Hugh Wilson

PRODUCER: Warren Carr, John Davis, J. Todd Harris, Joseph Singer

SCRIPT: Jay Ward, Hugh Wilson

CINEMATOGRAPHER:

EDITOR: Don Brochu

MUSIC: Steve Dorff

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bob Ziembicki

RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 13, 2000

VIDEO RELEASE: May 17, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video







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