Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile: Crocodile Rock

Lyle the crocodile in Columbia Pictures LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Based on the beloved book series, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a cute musical comedy about a singing crocodile and his family.

I wasn’t familiar with the book series going into the film. All I knew was that it was a musical comedy. Let me tell you that when it comes to singing animals, this is nothing like the monstrosity that is Cats. Lyle doesn’t only win over the members of the Primm family but the audience, too. By the end of the film, I found myself wondering if we would be getting another story about his adventures. You know you’re enjoying a film when you want to just keep hanging out with its characters. The animation is fine but it’s not the end of the world. At the end of the day, all that matters is whether or not the audience is having fun with the film.

The cold open introduces us to Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) and the titular Lyle (Shawn Mendes). Eighteen months later, the Primm family (Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley) moves into his Brownstone house in New York. While Josh (Fegley) isn’t keen on their new move for his father’s teaching job, he makes fast friends when he discovers Lyle in the attic. One by one, Lyle has a way of winning his new family over. It’s fun to watch it happen. What’s not so fun is their downstairs neighbor, Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman), and his threats over the smallest of things. You so much as touch his cat and he’s going to call the cops. This cat is a scene-stealer, not that I’m about to go anywhere near it!

One can only imagine Lyle saying something like, “Paint me like your crocodiles, Mrs. Primm!”

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Mrs. Primm (Constance Wu) paints a portrait of Lyle in Columbia Pictures LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Hector gets back in the picture and starts prepping for a new show with Lyle. Things turn sour quickly and Lyle gets taken away from the Primms. It takes the family to band together and show the world what Lyle’s got. We see how he’s impacted the Primms in such a short amount of time. The thing is he views them more as a family than as an audience. Can he get over his stage fright and bring the same magic to others and earn his freedom? That’s what you’ve got to watch to find out.

Every musical needs some catchy tunes and this film is certainly no exception. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are among the best songwriting teams out there and turn in A+ work. They have a way of knowing when to add music into the film at the right spot. Trust me, there’s never a dull moment in the film because of them. It is weird though to hear Shawn Mendes’ voice coming out of Lyle’s mouth but that’s mainly because of how weird it is to see a singing crocodile in action. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. I can imagine “Take a Look at Us Now” will get a strong push for the Oscars.

In addition to music, joy and passion play a part of the film, too. Lyle plays a large part in this and it’s so much fun to watch. Who knew that Constance Wu could sing and dance? I certainly didn’t because I’ve never seen it come up in some of her previous films. They even find a way to show us the funnier side of Scoot McNairy! Say what you will about Being the Ricardos but Javier Bardem rises to the challenge of playing a showman on screen and pulls off quite the performance. There are some numbers here where you can’t help but want to get up to sing and dance. Apologies to anyone that saw me rocking out at the screening!

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the sort of uplifting musical comedy that we need right now.

DIRECTORS: Will Speck and Josh Gordon
CAST: Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Winslow Fegley, Scoot McNairy, Brett Gelman, and Shawn Mendes

Sony Pictures will release Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile on October 7, 2022. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.