- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2001

The sinking feeling that began to engulf "Crocodile Dundee II" in 1988 indicated that the prototype of 1986 had indeed been a serendipitous entertainment. Somehow, Paul Hogan and Co. had mislaid the original light touch. They couldnt fake it a second time.
A dozen years of retirement and reflection havent brought a fresh or restorative glow to the belated second sequel, "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles," which has a lackluster ring to begin with. "Crocodile Dundee in Cucamonga" or " Pismo Beach" would probably sound sportier.
Oddly enough, this wax works installment would be justified calling itself "Crocodile Dundee in Hollywood," since a number of sequences borrow the home lot at Paramount, the only major studio actually situated in Hollywood. Maybe no one was thinking too clearly on the day Croc III was authorized.
The mildly amusing pretext is that outbacksman Mick Dundee, again impersonated by Paul Hogan, elects to accompany statuesque mate Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski, who actually set up housekeeping with Mr. Hogan as a result of their first collaboration) to Southern California. Her dad is a newspaper magnate, and his Los Angeles bureau is suddenly without a chief, owing to death under suspicious circumstances.
Mick and Sue, still unwed, have engendered a son named Boyo, er Mikey, played by towheaded Serge Cockburn. He also joins the trek and does some idle touring with his father before being parked in a private school, ending his active role in the plot in one oblivious stroke.
This form of child neglect serves only to introduce a smitten teacher called Miss Mathis (Kaitlin Hopkins), who gets a crush on Mick and then his sidekick Jacko (Alec Wilson), who shares an early croc-hunting gag in Australia before being summoned to L.A. as Mikeys nanny.
Another ill-advised discard: Clare Carey as a fetching Venice, Calif. skater who initially takes a cordial interest in both father and son. Its not as if the rest of the movie cant use some gratuitous cuteness and radiance.
Miss Kozlowski, obliged to remind everyone that her monolithic heroine is a rusty journalist, decides to nose into her predecessors demise. It has something to do with a suspicious company on the Paramount lot, shooting the latest in a flop action series, "Lethal Agent III," supposedly geared toward the dubious Russian and Serbian markets. Just to be mean, the series is ascribed to a leading man who resembles Jean-Claude Van Damme.
While Sue interviews the Mr. Big, a European producer with an extremely deep cleft in his chin (Jere Burns), Mick gets a job as an extra on "Lethal Agent III" and snoops from the inside out.
Something criminal may be going on with props: paintings and their ornate frames, imported from Belgrade under circumstances that suggest art theft or drug smuggling. At least they suggest such exotica to the screenwriters of record, Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams. Outsiders will merely marvel at the feebleness of every device meant to tantalize or thrill a susceptible public, which certainly needs to be nostalgic to a fault.
Things look grim as soon as Mr. Hogan does nothing amusing with a domestic gag about concealing a black widow spider in his hat. Once in America, he makes no comic headway with a haywire remote while bathing in Beverly Hills luxury. A bit of the original sassiness is recovered when Mick and Jacko humiliate a carload of muggers. Arguably, George Hamilton and Mike Tyson justify oddball walk-ons.
But why are Mr. Hogan and Miss Kozlowski such a petrified set of co-stars? Looking at them puts you in mind of matched dead batteries. Could anyone look at their takes and not recognize that a recharge was essential?
But then why should Mick Dundee be identified as an avid TV watcher at some points and yet allowed to act as if valet parking were a strange L.A. custom at another?
Well, to rationalize a stupid and expendable laugh, but the excuse is indefensible. Why did anybody bother to insist on "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" when the desire for a fresh start is clearly lost on Paul Hogan?

One out of four stars
TITLE: "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles"
RATING: PG (Fleeting profanity, comic vulgarity, sexual allusions and violence)
CREDITS: Directed by Simon Wincer.
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

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