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Dudley Do-Right

Review by Jessica Brandt

Having grown up watching The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, I think that the character of Dudley Do-Right was my first taste in Canadian appreciation. The fact that he was a haphazard Mountie who rode his horse (named "Horse") backwards simply tickled my funny bone.

With little ado, Hugh Wilson, creator of 1997's George of the Jungle, released another live-action kid's comedy based on a 60's cartoon and staring Brendan Fraser.

To my delight, the film begins with an actual animated "Fractured Fairy Tale," one of my favorite parts of the original show. The actual movie begins with some Do-Right animation, complete with the original bugle theme song. This had my mother and I laughing from the get-go. Unfortunately, the only other people in the theater with us were two teenage girls who had probably never seen the original cartoon, but were there to gaze into the eyes of Beautiful Brendan Fraser.

I was all set for a let-down, seeing as how the movie hasn't done too well yet. I was expecting some sappy kids' story that skirted the use of guns and violence. I wasn't expecting it to stay true to the cartoon.

Boy was I wrong!

The story is that the baddest bad guy ever, Snidley Whiplash (Alfred Molina) plants fake gold in the Northwest Territory town of Semi-Happy Ville to lure all the rich American Yuppies in and drive away the locals. Then, by devious planning, he takes over the town and turns into a very rich man. Cartoon-y from start to finish, complete with near death by "Really Big Train" and flatulating horses. Genius.

The best part had to be that there was an "Announcer," just like the cartoon. The announcer's voice (Corey Burton) was nearly the same as the cartoon's, and true to good comedy, the actors sometimes referred to the announcer. Another amusing part was the use of the famous Jeanette Macdonald/Nelson Eddy mountie song "When I'm Calling You." I'm guessing most people under the age of...oh, 50... won't get this joke. But trust me, it's hilarious.

Alex Rocco (The Godfather, That Thing you Do!) plays the chief of a tribe of "Brooklyn Indians" named The Kumquats. They put on dance shows a la Riverdance and dinner theater in the woods of Canada. The tribe befriends Do-Right, and help him defeat Whiplash.

Eric Idle (Monty Python member) plays Do-Right's best friend and a very convincing drunk (absurd as it may seem, they are the same character!) It was a treat to see Idle, who is funny in everything he does.

Much of the film is goofy, but it's the underlining jokes that make it fun, like the original Bullwinkle cartoon. I remember laughing throughout the entire film, sometimes very obnoxiously, but I honestly can't remember much of the plot. It's not the plot that makes it enjoyable, it's the memories of the cartoon and the great job the director did by sticking to it.

Fraser is becoming more of a big star and isn't afraid of any roles. Having been "Encino Man" and an Airhead, he's now been able to find those greatt little comedic roles which will keep him popular not just with the pre-teen set, but with the adults as well. While Dudley Do-Right is as dumb as they come, he can still say he starred in a movie with Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters).

Dudley Do-Right is fun on many levels, much like Sesame Street is. It's intended for kids, but adults with a good foothold in cartoons will really appreciate this movie, if not for the acting, but for the Announcer.


(Out of five)

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