This half-animated musical can only appeal to very young audiences.
Adaptation of Bernard Waber's eponymous children's novel, Lyle the crocodile begins when the magician Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) seeks, for his show, an animal more impressive than the traditional pigeons and doves. By chance, he comes across Lyle (voice of Shawn Mendes in the original version and William Cloutier in the French version presented here), an adorable baby crocodile who can… sing!
Fast forward to the arrival of Joe (Scoot McNairy) and Katie (Constance Wu) Primm who, along with their son Josh (Winslow Fegley), move into their new apartment in New York. Josh is worried and fails to make any friends until the day he discovers Lyle in the attic of the house, Valenti's former home. We suspect it, Josh and Lyle will build a friendship that will soon extend to the whole family, the arrival of Valenti adding a particular zest to the adventures of the Primms.
Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, known for The Exchange with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, took care to respect the target audience: young children by making the visual engaging, betting on the magical side of the story and managing to make Lyle look adorable – which is a tour de force, let's face it.
The songs have the merit of speeding up this 106-minute feature and also serve to convey the usual messages about friendship, fear, surpassing oneself and family.
If Lyle the crocodile does not go down in history and parents risk finding the subject a little superficial, the film contains enough good moments of entertainment to please young people.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128