Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

Kids will like 'Kangaroo'

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 13, 2003

Kangaroo Jack.

Rating: PG for language, crude humor, sensuality and violence.

Summary: Charlie (Jerry O'Connell) and Louis (Anthony Anderson) became instant friends as boys when Louis saved Charlie from drowning at the beach. They seem to have a real knack for finding trouble wherever they go, with whatever they're doing. Tired of their bumbling ways, Charlie's mobster stepfather, Sal (Christopher Walken), sends them on a "job" to Australia, to deliver $50,000 to "Mr. Smith." Sal has some ulterior motives, though, and serious ones at that. In the process of delivering the package to the rugged Outback, the package accidentally winds up in the hands of a feisty kangaroo Charlie and Louis nickname "Jackie Legs" after a mutual childhood friend. They enlist the help of a reluctant wildlife specialist, Jessie (Estella Warren), to help them track down the wily creature. Then the three of them are off on a wild goose chase to try to retrieve the money.

Louis faces a kangaroo, looking startled
[Warner Bros. photo]
Louis (Anthony Anderson) has a close encounter with a kangaroo in Kangaroo Jack.
My View: This is a cute, though somewhat mediocre movie, with a funny story that most kids will take pleasure in viewing. I wouldn't expect this one to wow older crowds, but they'll still be able to sit through it. The trailers lead you to believe the main character is a talking kangaroo, but that is not the case, and that's a plus. The kangaroo (part computer-generated, part animatronic) gives the film a cartoonlike quality. The rest of the cast gets their job done, too, delivering some goofy, slapstick humor.

Recommendations: This is a good flick for a rainy day, but it will probably do better in video stores in a few months. It's appropriate for ages 9 and up, with parental supervision for the younger ones (as the rating suggests).

Grade: C+

-- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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