Right On, DUDLEY DO-RIGHT!
How lucky can moviegoers get? Three Brendan Fraser movies this year! During 1999, the versatile actor has starred in Blast From The Past, The Mummy, and now Dudley Do-Right. He is rapidly becoming one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men. And no wonder. He can play practically any role, from action hero to lovable doofus. While Fraser’s work in George of the Jungle still ranks as his best performance to date, it’s great fun watching him as a bumbling Canadian Mountie out to save Semi-Happy Valley from the villainous Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina).
In this rollicking interpretation of Jay Ward’s cartoon character, Fraser’s chiseled good looks, comic timing, and affinity for pratfalls make Do-Right just right indeed. But in spite of his appeal and star power, Dudley Do-Right belongs to another actor. Molina (Not Without My Daughter) steals every scene with his surprisingly funny portrayal of the world’s most hilarious “bad guy.” Dressed in the traditional dark cape and top hat, Snidely becomes furious when Do-Right points out he is wearing navy blue, not black. His devious efforts to take over Semi-Happy Valley include sending the naive Mountie on a search for nonexistent vampires, planting gold to attract tourists, turning the sleepy area into a wicked Las Vegas North, and appointing all local officials from his gang of useless cutthroats. He also has designs on Do-Right’s longtime girl friend (Sarah Jessica Parker of television’s Sex and the City).
Does Do-Right save the day? Of course, but only with the help of a silly prospector (Monty Python’s Eric Idle) who becomes his Yoda-like trainer. After a few painful sessions with this wacky Master, the intrepid Do-Right goes off “to search for justice and extra-strength Tylenol,” according to the film’s very amusing narrator.
Moviegoers who miss those glorious old film musicals should be delighted by Dudley Do-Right’s two big production numbers. Fraser and Molina challenge each other in an energetic dancing duel over Parker, and a group in full Native American regalia performs a dinner theater version of “Riverdance.” (Yes, you read that right, and it works). There are snippets of vocals too, but the less said about attempts by Parker and Fraser to imitate Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy the better. You have to hear these unusual duets to believe them.
Written and directed by Hugh Wilson (Blast From The Past), this entertaining comedy is a welcome addition to the short list of family films available this summer. Parents won’t do wrong by treating their kids to Dudley Do-Right. .
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “PG” for mild comic action, violence, brief strong language, and innuendo.)