“Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” brings big smiles


Photo courtesy of IMDB

As of publication, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is still only able to be seen in theaters. When the movie does inevitably hit streaming, however, it will likely be available on Netflix, as per Sony’s streaming deal with the service.

Based on the series of beloved children’s books by Bernard Waber, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” follows the Hollywood trend of live-action family films. The story follows an anthropomorphic crocodile named Lyle, and the Primm family, who move into the house he inhabits. 

Conceptually, the idea of a movie-musical based around a CGI crocodile sounds ridiculous. The movie is in fact, ridiculous, but in the best way possible. No single word describes this film better than fun; its story is unrealistic, but wildly enjoyable. If viewers are willing to enter with an open mind, they will not be disappointed. 

Lyle demonstrates a surprising level of empathy for a crocodile who has little experience with the outside world. He finds ways to connect with each member of the Primm family, and makes a positive impact on all of their lives. Young Josh, who experiences deep fear and uncertainty in his new city community, desperately needs a friend; Lyle fills that role, while simultaneously helping Josh gain confidence. Josh’s stepmother has become stuck in a loop of living her life inside the lines, and she is miserable because of it. By reminding her that experimentation is just as important in cooking as recipes, Lyle helps her reclaim the less predictable things she enjoys in life. Lastly, Lyle nudges Mr. Primm towards the assertiveness he previously had as a wrestler, helping him become more confident in his new teaching job. Heartwarmingly, Lyle finds what he’s been missing in them too. He gains a real family. 

“Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” adds elements not present in its source material, but thoughtfully honors its beginnings. Illustrations in the nostalgic style of the books decorate the wall in the Primm’s house, and are also featured heavily in the credits. Similarly, the film’s identity as a musical pays tribute to Lyle’s past foray into the genre, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile: The Musical.” 

The soundtrack of “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is lovingly crafted by critically acclaimed team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, whose past credits include music for “The Greatest Showman,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” and “La La Land.” Shawn Mendes sings in six original songs, all of which are a delight both to the eyes and ears, although three of these are reprises of “Take A Look At Us Now.” The soundtrack of the movie reflects well the energy of the film overall, relentlessly optimistic. Its songs make a welcome addition both to a far too cynical world and to any playlist. Really, the only downside is that there are not more songs. 

While Lyle could easily be associated with other anthropomorphic movie characters like Paddington and Clifford, he succeeds in presenting his own brand of positivity. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is a wild ride, bringing viewers to tears and then making them smile. To enjoy the film, the audience is asked to suspend their disbelief, but if they are willing to do so, they will have a good time. This movie is targeted towards the young and the young at heart, but if given the chance, Lyle will sing his way into even the most cynical of hearts.