Kangaroo Jack

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Kangaroo Jack
Kangaroo jack.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David McNally
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by Steve Bing
Scott Rosenberg
Story by Steve Bing
Barry O'Brien
Starring Jerry O'Connell
Anthony Anderson
Estella Warren
Michael Shannon
Christopher Walken
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Edited by William Goldenberg
Jim May
John Murray
Castle Rock Entertainment
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • January 17, 2003 (2003-01-17)
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $88,929,111[1]
This article is about the 2003 film. For the device also known as a 'Farm Jack', see Jack_(device)#Farm_jack.

Kangaroo Jack is a 2003 American adventure comedy film directed by David McNally, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and starring Jerry O'Connell, Anthony Anderson, Estella Warren, Michael Shannon and Christopher Walken. An animated sequel, Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!, was produced and released direct-to-video on November 16, 2004. While the film was a box office success, it was widely panned.


In the summer of 1982, a boy named Charlie Carbone (Robert Reid) is about to become the stepson of a mobster named Salvatore Maggio (Christopher Walken). On that same day, he meets his new best friend, Louis Booker (Shawn Smith), who saves him from drowning.

Twenty years later, in 2002, Charlie (Jerry O'Connell) has his own beauty salon. Yet, Sal's goons arrive every week and take at least 80% of the profits, barely letting Charlie keep enough money for future improvements. Louis (Anthony Anderson) is still Charlie's best friend. After they botch the job of hiding some stolen goods, Sal gives Charlie and Louis one more chance. Under the instructions of Frankie Lombardo (Michael Shannon), Sal's second-in-command, they have to deliver a package on the next flight to Sydney, then drive to Coober Pedy to meet a man named Mr. Smith. Unbeknown to Charlie and Louis, Sal tells his Capo that he is "cancelling their return trip". On the plane, Louis peeks into the package, only to find $50,000.

While driving through the Australian Outback (on their way to Mr. Smith), Charlie and Louis inadvertently run over a red kangaroo, and seemingly kill it. Louis feels interested and puts his "lucky jacket" on the kangaroo with Charlie's sunglasses; they think that the kangaroo looks like Jackie Leggs, one of Sal's goons. When they are taking the picture, the kangaroo comes back to consciousness and hops away with the $50,000 in the jacket. Charlie and Louis hop into the jeep and chase the kangaroo attempting to grab the money from the jacket on the kangaroo, but the ensuing chase ends with the duo driving through a field of termite mounds and crashing into a pile of rocks. When they reach a nearby bar called the Old Alice Inn in Alice Springs Louis calls Mr. Smith (Csokas) and tells him about the situation. Mr. Smith maliciously tells Louis that they had better have his money when he comes after them or he'll kill them.

Louis gets advice from a local animal sanctuary and is told by Jessie (Estella Warren) that the best way to catch the kangaroo is to shoot it with a tranquillizer dart fired from the air. They enlist the help of an alcoholic bushplane pilot named Blue (Hunter). Unfortunately, an unexpected jolt causes Louis to shoot Blue with the dart rather than the kangaroo, and the plane crashes. When Blue radios for help, his air traffic controller, Tansy (Roberts), has been taken hostage by Mr. Smith's minions and, upon hearing the location of the aircraft, they destroy the radio, gag Tansy and head off in that direction.

Back in New York City, Sal gets a call from Mr. Smith, saying that Charlie and Louis haven't arrived yet. Thus, Sal sends Frankie and his minions to Australia to look into this.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Louis attempt to reclaim the money, but end up stranded in the desert. After struggling for a while they finally get rescued by Jessie. They ask her to help them find the missing animal. She declines at first, but when Charlie offers to pay her, she graciously accepts.

Quite unexpectedly, they get attacked by Mr. Smith and his henchmen. Jessie learns the truth about the money and offers to lead Smith to the kangaroo. Smith accepts the offer and Charlie and Louis are led off by Smith's henchmen. However, the two friends manage to outsmart their captors, and return to rescue Jessie. Though a welcome sight at first, Frankie turns his gun on Charlie and Louis.

However, luck intervenes when a fight between Frankie and Mr. Smith escalates into a full on brawl between the two men's henchmen and themselves. Jessie, Louis, and Charlie escape in the chaos, but Frankie and his men give pursuit. During the chase, Louis manages to get the package back from the kangaroo, but goes off a cliff in the process.

Charlie manages to save Louis from falling to his death, and at first they rejoice at having gotten the money back. Frankie arrives and Charlie attempts to return the money, but Frankie reveals that Sal really sent Charlie and Lewis to Australia to pay for their own execution at the hands of Mr. Smith. All of a sudden the police arrive and arrest Frankie, Mr. Smith, and their respective minions.

One year later, Charlie and Jessie are married and sell their new shampoo and they put a picture of Jack on the bottle, Frankie and his men are imprisoned for life which Sal Maggio has also failed at avoiding, and Louis is currently Charlie's advertising partner. As for the kangaroo (now called Kangaroo Jack), he is still hopping around the outback.


  • Jerry O'Connell as Charlie Carbone, a hair-dresser who works at a beauty salon.
    • Robert Reid portrays Young Charlie
  • Anthony Anderson as Louis Booker, Charlie's best friend who saved Charlie's life two decades ago.
    • Shawn Smith portrays Young Louis
  • Estella Warren as Jessie, a zoologist who helps the Brooklyn duo get the money and Charlie's love interest.
  • Michael Shannon as Frankie Lombardo, One of Sal Maggio's minions who attempts to kill Charlie and Louis on Sal's order.
    • Brian Casey portrays Young Frankie
  • Christopher Walken as Salvatore "Sal" Maggio, Charlie's stepfather and mobster.
  • Dyan Cannon as Anna Carbone, Charlie's mother
  • Marton Csokas as Mr. Smith, a contract killer in Australia.
  • Bill Hunter as Blue, an alcoholic bushplane pilot.
  • Denise Roberts as Tansy, an air traffic controller and Blue's friend.
  • Tony Nikolakopoulos as Sal's Capo, Sal's minion
  • David Ngoombujarra as AFP Senior Sgt. James "Mr. Jimmy" Inkamala, a tour guide who is actually a police officer.
  • Adam Garcia as Kangaroo "Jackie Legs" Jack (voice, uncredited), a red kangaroo who got run over by Charlie and now has the money in Louis's lucky red jacket.


Kangaroo Jack is mostly live-action but the kangaroos are computer-animated, the special visual effects were provided by The Secret Lab which closed shortly after the release.


The film was panned by critics, earning an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Joe McGovern in the Village Voice described Kangaroo Jack as "witless" and stated "The colorless script...seems to have written itself from a patchwork of Wile E. Coyote cartoons, camel farts, and every high-pitched Aussie cliché to have echoed on these shores". [2] Nathan Rabin, reviewing the film for the AV Club, remarked "Kangaroo Jack's premise, trailer, and commercials promise little more than the spectacle of two enthusiastic actors being kicked over and over again by a sassy, computer-animated kangaroo—and, sadly, the film fails to deliver even that." [3] Gary Slaymaker in the British newspaper The Western Mail said "Kangaroo Jack is the most witless, pointless, charmless drivel unleashed on an unsuspecting public".[4] For their performances, Anthony Anderson and Christopher Walken were both nominated for Worst Supporting Actor at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards, but they lost to Sylvester Stallone for Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. The Australian newspaper The Age included Kangaroo Jack on its list of "worst films ever made".[5]

Jerry Bruckheimer started working exclusively with Disney following the release of Bad Boys II six months later.

Box office[edit]

Despite the largely negative reception, the film was released on January 17, 2003 and grossed $16,580,209 over the 3-day MLK opening weekend, and $21,895,483 over the 4-day MLK weekend, ranking #1 that weekend. It ended up grossing $66,934,963 domestically and $21,994,148 overseas for a worldwide total of $88,929,111.[1]


An animated sequel, Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!, was released direct-to-video on November 16, 2004.


  1. ^ a b "Kangaroo Jack". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ Joe McGovern, "Kangaroo Jack". Village Voice. January 18, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Nathan Rabin, "Kangaroo Jack". The AV Club. January 27, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  4. ^ Gary Slaymaker, The Western Mail, May 16, 2003, (p.2)
  5. ^ Lawrie Zion, "Home Movies". The Age, September 11, 2003. (p.7)

2 http://www.movieinsider.com/m927/kangaroo-jack-2-jack-is-back/ Retrieved June 29, 2012

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