A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Could teach young kids a bit about what reptiles need (warmth, for example) and about living in a city.
Encourages teamwork, courage to try new things and trust new friends, and honesty between families and friends. Stresses importance of blended and found families.
Positive Role Models
Josh is empathetic, brave, and kind. He befriends and helps Lyle even when it means going outside his comfort zone. Both Primm parents are caring, attentive, and loving toward Josh and later toward Lyle. For all his flaws, Hector cares for Lyle and redeems himself for iffy choices. Lyle adores his human family.
Co-star Constance Wu is of Taiwanese descent. Hector Valenti (played by Spanish actor Javier Bardem) has a culturally ambiguous name and speaks with a mild accent, but his background isn't part of the story. The Primm family is a positive example of a blended family. A young character is shown living with anxiety.
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Violence & Scariness
Lyle accidentally swallows Loretta the cat but eventually spits her out in an amusing fashion. Animal control traps and shoots Lyle with a dart gun. Lyle is kept at the New York Zoo with other crocodiles who are considerably more aggressive. There are a couple of big chase scenes, with the authorities following Josh and Lyle. Josh faints. Mr. Primm wrestles with Lyle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nonsexual scenes of Lyle and Hector toasting in the bath together. Later, each is shown bathing or showering and startling the Primm family member who catches them in the bath or behind the shower curtain. The Primm parents embrace and cuddle.
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The lyrics of a song include "sugar hits the fan"; a couple of fart jokes.
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Products & Purchases
Audi allroad wagon, Thule storage, Google, Sony electronics in a few scenes. A Polo shirt.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults (particularly Valenti) drink champagne for a toast in celebration.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a live-action, family-friendly musical based on the beloved 1965 picture book. As in the book, the story centers around the Primm family, who discover that they have a crocodile in their New York City townhouse. This version of Lyle (who's voiced by Shawn Mendes) sings like a pop performer -- but only in front of loved ones, never an audience. The main antagonist is the Primms' downstairs neighbor -- the spot-on-named Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman) -- who would love nothing more than to get the entire family evicted. Expect a bit of peril: Animal control shoots a tranquilizer gun to sedate Lyle, and, in a moment of humor, he accidentally swallows a cat whole. There's also a lot of slapstick, like when Lyle and Mr. Primm wrestle or a sequence in which two characters are pursued through New York City streets. There are a couple of fart jokes, and two different characters are caught taking a bath or shower, startling other characters. The story depicts a middle schooler who deals with anxiety, and a blended family that's really close. Younger kids will get a kick out of Lyle's little adventures, fans of Mendes' music will enjoy the original songs, and parents will appreciate the messages about teamwork, courage, and honesty. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This warm, sweet children's book adaptation does its "crocodile in the city" story justice but doesn't quite rise to Paddington-level greatness. This isn't one of those family films with wink-wink double entendres and jokes; it's geared firmly at single-digit-age audiences (with the possible exception of Mendes superfans who want to support everything the singer-turned-voice actor does). There's not a whole lot to the plot, making it easy for even young moviegoers to follow along. And there's no high-stakes drama or evil force to darken the story. The ensemble all do their best with the material. Bardem hams it up as an over-the-top showbiz performer who can't crack the big time or convince Lyle to sing on stage in front of an audience. Fegley (Timmy Failure) continues to hone his comedic timing as he authentically portrays Josh, a middle schooler who's trying to manage his anxiety at being the new kid in a new school in a big-and-scary new city. Wu and McNairy (who for once gets to play a nice guy) have their own adjustments to make as Josh's well-meaning and supportive parents. Gelman stands out as the mean-spirited (and appropriately named) Mr. Grumps, who cares solely for his Persian cat, Loretta, and his quiet.
The musical's songs, written by Pasek and Paul, the Academy Award-nominated songwriting duo behind Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman, are better than expected, showcasing Mendes' familiar pop voice well. "Top of the World," "Take a Look at Us Now," and the Mendes-penned "Heartbeat" are all commercially viable and evocative songs that go well with the soundtrack additions of established songs like Pete Rodriguez's "I Like It Like That" and, of course, Elton John's "Crocodile Rock." Besides the music, one of the tenderest aspects of the movie is the revelation that Mrs. Primm is actually Josh's stepmother. It's all too common for blended families to be portrayed in the media as antagonistic or hostile, so it's refreshing to see Josh feel close to his stepmother, whom he considers his mom. It's too bad that the movie doesn't lean more into the family's backstory or why Mrs. Primm has become such a worrier. In addition to the overt humor of the singing (but mysteriously not talking) crocodile, this is a story about found family and finding your joy, even when things seem overwhelming.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.