HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Friday, August 27, 1999

Show me the Mountie

Movie: Dudley Do-Right

Posted on Fri, Aug 27, 1999 at 4:00 AM

***
Dudley Do-Right
Length: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Website: http://www.universalpictures.com/dudleydoright/
Release Date: 1999-08-27
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Alfred Molina, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Prosky
Director: Hugh Wilson
Screenwriter: Hugh Wilson
Music Score: Steve Dorff
WorkNameSort: Dudley Do-Right
Our Rating: 3.00

Part serious guy (Gods and Monsters, "School Ties") and part wannabe action star (The Mummy), Brendan Fraser may find his greatest success as a smirking comic actor who's prone to silly grins and painful-looking pratfalls.

Fraser notched solid box-office with just such a role in 1997's "George of the Jungle," so he must have jumped at the chance to play the title character in "Dudley Do-Right," another live-action version of an animated 1960s TV series created by Jay Ward.

During this summer of romantic-comedy duds, moronic terror trips and overbaked event pictures, be thankful for small favors: "Dudley Do-Right," written and directed by Hugh Wilson (with whom Fraser teamed for the forgettable Blast From the Past) may aim low, but it hits the mark. It's a pleasant little diversion that's marked by winning, over-the-top performances, goofy sight gags and a solid buzz of Baby-Boomer nostalgia.

Fraser -- he of the wide face, sparkling eyes and lanky good looks -- plays the Canadian Mountie as a good-hearted but clueless citizen who, as a prologue teaches us, has long been intent on a career in genteel law enforcement. That preamble also introduces us to the young versions of Dudley's enemy, Snidley Whiplash (already equipped with black hat and cape), and Nell Fenwick, the object of both boys' affections.

Twenty years later, the bitter rivals are fulfilling their respective destinies in the Canadian Rockies community of Semi-Happy Valley, while Nell (Sarah Jessica Parker) has traveled the world and earned degrees from Harvard and Yale in an effort to find herself. Dudley keeps busy by bonding with his horse (named Horse, of course) and tooling around his office. He inadvertently and repeatedly steps on loose floorboards that slam him in the face, and often tumbles from the chair behind his desk. Ho ho ho.

Snidley (a leering Alfred Molina) has recently robbed a bank -- with the help of 200 villains, all dressed in black -- and is now intent on another bit of evil business. He begins by convincing Dudley that vampires lurk in the woods, a bit of tomfoolery that leads to a villagers-bearing-torches sequence that's straight out of Gothic horror classics.

Part two of the plan: Our favorite sniveling bad guy sprinkles area streams with gold, bringing thousands of greedy American yuppies across the border and turning Semi-Happy Valley into a tourist town. In honor of its new benefactor, the burg is renamed Whiplash City.

Dudley is subsequently stripped of his uniform and firearms by Inspector Fenwick (Robert Prosky), Nell's dad. So the good guy is forced to wear black in order to end the reign of the evil Snidley. Donning a leather jacket, Do-Right adopts a Harley as his new mode of transportation. Horse, it seems, has mysteriously disappeared.

Sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious but often not, "Dudley Do-Right" greatly benefits from the bass-toned voice-over of an omniscient, pseudo-hip narrator (Corey Burton). Eric Idle is entertaining as a grizzled, alcoholic prospector who gains fame as the first man to find the gold; he's also a Pokémon expert who helps Dudley regain his confidence through a series of Oriental master-student exercises. The funniest set piece centers on a Corn Festival that's put on by a tribe of Indians from South Brooklyn (their Chief is portrayed by Alex Rocco). It's a cheesy, Vegas-style revue, complete with bare-chested male dancers, skimpily dressed women, giant corn husks and some "Riverdance"-style tap moves.

All in all, "Dudley Do-Right" is funny enough, but not likely to be remembered long after its opening weekend. Then again, you could do worse than cheerful amneisa at the movies right now.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 18, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation