A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dudley Do-Right is the 1999 live-action movie starring Brendan Fraser as the beloved Canadian Mountie from the classic 1960s cartoon. While, like the cartoon, there are lots of puns and slapstick, there's also some humor that could be inappropriate for younger kids. For instance, a pigeon lands on Snidely Whiplash's head and defecates; also, a recurring joke shows Dudley Do-Right's horse audibly passing gas. Aside from this, there is some drinking -- one of the main characters acts very drunk then is shown waking up the next morning moving slowly, moaning, and complaining about his hangover. There is also cartoonish violence with guns and cannons.
What's the story?
Dudley Do-Right (Brendan Fraser) is an inept but pure-hearted Canadian Mountie who protects the good citizens of Semi-Happy Valley. But all this changes when the wicked Snidley Whiplash (Alfred Molina) comes to town with his minions, distracts Do-Right with fears of vampires, and concocts a scheme to buy all the properties of Semi-Happy Valley and change its name to Whiplash City. As this happens, the beautiful Nell Fenwick (Sarah Jessica Parker) returns from a successful career as an ambassador, and Dudley and Snidley compete to win her heart. While Dudley bumbles his way out of the Canadian Mounties, Snidley has manufactured a false gold rush to swindle even more money out of visitors and residents of Whiplash City, even as he is perceived to be "good" by everyone around him. Dudley meets a drunken prospector (Eric Idle) who convinces Dudley that his best move in this scenario is to act "bad," and by acting "bad," Dudley begins to find a way to, once again, outwit Snidley, rescue the good people of Semi-Happy Valley, and earn the love of Nell.
Is it any good?
Like pretty much all the movies made in the late 1990s that tried to remake classic and campy cartoons from the 1960s, the problem with DUDLEY DO-RIGHT is that it's not as good as the original. While the effort is made to evoke the humorous puns and the slapstick pratfalls of the original, the central problem comes down to the title character. While all the other actors play up their cartoonish personalities, one wishes Brendan Fraser had played Dudley a little more over-the-top, a little more forthright, a little more...Canadian.
Still, as an introduction to the legendary Jay Ward cartoon series, it isn't bad. There are plenty of comedic tropes and chestnuts freely recycled from the original, even if some of the more contemporary attempts at humor seem gratuitous, if not obnoxious.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about remakes of classic cartoons into contemporary movies. What would be the challenges in turning an animated cartoon series into a feature-length film?
Where does the humor seem more geared toward kids, and where does it seem more geared toward adults?
In what ways is the violence in the movie more "cartoonish," as opposed to violence that is more realistic?
- In theaters: August 27, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: May 4, 2010
- Cast: Alfred Molina, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker
- Director: Hugh Wilson
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild comic action violence, and for brief language and innuendo
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.