Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile will be a confusing prospect for parents taking their little ones out for a cinema trip. Based on a 60s children’s book that is beloved in America but less known here, the film is brought to the screen by the directors of adult comedy Blades of Glory and co-stars Javier Bardem, the Oscar winning actor famous for his villains.
Still, the premise is innocent enough. The Primm Family move into a picturesque New York Brownstone, only to find an unusual resident – Lyle, a singing crocodile (voiced by Sawn Mendes). Left there by a travelling magician (Bardem) due to his stage fright, Lyle soon bonds with his new family, and helps them find their voice.
A wholesome misadventure, the film is clearly aiming for the audience that made Paddington a global hit. This doesn’t have the same earnest sentiment, but it is fun to tap your feet along to its quirky rhythm. It nails its hopes on the talents od Mendes, who sings all of Lyle’s lines, and while this can create a bit of an emotional barrier in more serious moments, kids will adore the cartoonish hijinks. Bardem enjoys keeping things light, taking advantage of the opportunity to go over-the-top in every scene he’s in. Also memorable among the humans is Bret Gelman as Mr Grumps, the aptly named antagonist neighbour looking to evict our toothy hero.
With all but a few family movies heading to streaming this year, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the type of sparkly event movie that seems to be made for the big screen. It’s unlikely to become a genre favourite, but with half term looming, this will help 100 minutes fly by pleasantly.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is in cinemas from 14th October – book now to get tickets for half term