In Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Hector P. Valenti is a down-on-his-luck entertainer, who is desperate to hit the big time. Yet, despite his best efforts to wow the judges on a prime-time TV talent show, things just don’t work out for him.
But after being told he needs a unique selling point to make his mark, Hector heads to the nearest pet shop in search of an exotic animal to give him an edge. Here, to his complete surprise, he meets a singing crocodile, which he promptly buys and takes home.
The crocodile – which he names Lyle – becomes part of Hector’s act, and finally the showman believes he has what it takes to wow the crowds. In fact, he becomes so convinced of his impending star status, he uses his own home as collateral to fund a new gig.
But unfortunately, when the big moment arises and Hector and Lyle take to the stage, Lyle gets stage freight and the chance of stardom fizzles out. And with the gig falling flat, and Hector now having no money and no home, he is forced onto the open road to try and make a living for himself.
Leaving Lyle behind, Hector instructs the crocodile to remain in the attic of their former home, and keep out of sight until he returns. Lyle agrees to this and does an admirable job of keeping himself to himself for the next few months.
However, it’s not long before a new family called the Primms move into the house and make it their own. It is also not long before the Primms become aware that an all-singing, all-dancing reptile lives upstairs.
Will they be frightened by the crooning croc in the attic, or will Lyle win them over with his charm and excellent singing voice? And moving beyond the Primms, is the world ready for someone such as Lyle to finally step out of the shadows and into the spotlight?
Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile stars Winslow Fegley, Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, and Scoot McNairy. The movie – which is now playing in UK cinemas – is a family, musical comedy, based on a series of children’s books by Bernard Waber.
Similar to films such as Stuart Little (1999) and Paddington (2014), Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a live-action feature-film, which incorporates computer generated imagery to bring its titular character to life. However, unlike those two films, this picture mixes songs into its story too, with the bulk of the music performed by pop star, Shawn Mendes.
The tracks performed by Mendes, range from a couple of well-known hits from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Elton John, to some original music written especially for this film. This original music comes from a number of writers, including Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – the lyricists behind The Greatest Showman (2017).
And if you’re a fan of the music in The Greatest Showman, and you have a special place in your heart for the films I mentioned above (Stuart Little and Paddington, as well as others of this ilk), then I can’t see why you wouldn’t like Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. I found this picture to be a complete joy to watch, and I loved every toe-tappin’, hip-swingin’, and heart-warmin’ minute.
As noted above, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is based on a collection of children’s books, and has a premise which revolves around a singing crocodile. As such, this is the sort of film that is best approached with the knowledge that none of it should be taken too seriously, and it merely exists to entertain.
And it does entertain. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the sort of movie you can sit back and get lost in for a couple of hours of light-hearted, whimsical fun.
The picture is loaded with lots of gags, plenty of tunes, and bucket loads of warmth. It is a film that kids will love, adults will enjoy, and only those with the coldest, blackest, meanest hearts, will feel the need to poo-poo.
The main thrust of the film is about Lyle and the relationship he develops with the Primm family. Throughout the first half of the film, each member of the Primms gets to meet Lyle, and each has to be convinced he’s not a killer croc.
From here the story then develops into a tale about how Lyle fits in with the world around him, and how others react to his perceived ferocious nature. It’s a tried-and-tested story, which has been played out many times before, but it is handled well and delivered with conviction.
The theme of this movie is about friendship, and about the way in which those who seem different can often have a positive impact on others. The Primms need someone like Lyle in their lives, and Lyle needs a family like the Primms, and the message of inclusivity and togetherness comes across load and clear.
Yes, it’s all very predictable, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out where the story will go, however, as mentioned above, you’d have to be an absolute mean-bean not to be won over by this film’s charm. While Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile might not win any awards for originality, it certainly gets points for being lovely, and sometimes that’s all you really need from a movie.
With Lyle being largely a mute croc, other than when it comes to singing (via Shawn Mendes), a great deal of his emotional state is played out through lyrics, as well as his facial expressions. He might be a CGI creation, but he is surprisingly human and easy to fall in love with.
As for his human companions, all of the cast are good, with the stand-out star being Javier Bardem. Bardem plays the role of the loveable (but not always dependable) Hector, and he steals every scene he is in.
Throw in a comedic CGI cat, some mild peril, and a generally positive atmosphere, and you have a movie which is very likeable. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is delightful from its opening moments through to its final act, and it never becomes stale.
With the half-term holidays approaching in the UK, and the kids getting some time off school, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the perfect film to watch if you’re after some big screen entertainment. One look at Lyle should be enough to keep every member of the family thoroughly engaged, and a few notes from the songs should get some bums wiggling in seats.
And hey, even if you don’t have kids and you just want some good-natured escapism, then this film will fit the bill too! Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is inoffensive fun which is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.