Scene from Dudley Do Right, co-starring Sarah Jessica Parker
Prayer Focus

Dudley Do Right

MPAA Rating: PG for mild comic action violence, and for brief language and innuendo

Reviewed by: Dave and Rebecca Kinder
GUEST REVIEWERS

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 15 min.
Year of Release:
1999
PG

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Alfred Molina, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Prosky, Jack Kehler | Directed by Hugh Wilson | Produced by John Davis, Joseph Singer, J. Todd Harris | Written by Hugh Wilson, Jay Ward | Distributed by Universal Pictures

The bad guys in Dudley Do Right.

A wonderful exception to the countless “live” action and animated films today that call themselves family friendly, but are not, is “Dudley Do Right”. Not since “Princess Bride” have we been able to honestly say “we enjoyed the movie, and so will the kids.”

The perhaps now classic cartoon hero, Dudley Do-Right, is wonderfully brought to life. Dudley (Brendan Fraser) is a bumbling and yet heroic Canadian mountie who, along with his comical and sometimes flatulent horse, “Horse”, fights his arch nemesis, Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina). All the while competing for the love of classic damsel-in-distress Nell Fenwick (Sarah Jessica Parker).

Director and writer Hugh Wilson, of “George of the Jungle” fame, does an excellent job bringing Jay Ward’s cartoon creations to life. From Dudley’s uniform and clumsy misfortunes to Nell’s “damsel in distress” attire (complete with bonnet) and Snidley’s villainous mustache and top hat. The acting is believeable and fun for a family movie. In fact, the movie could have been rated G except for a few loud actions scenes which may scare very young children.

The story opens with the characters being introduced as children, which immediately appeals to the younger audience. It is not long before the evil plot of the fully grown Snidely Whiplash summons Dudley to the rescue. The once peaceful town of Semi-Happy Valley is in danger!

“Dudley Do Right” is fun from start to finish with action and humor targeted at children, but equally fun for adults.

From a Christian perspective we didn’t notice any profanity or the all-too-common sexual innuendos that pervade so much of “family” films today. As to why this did not earn a “5” in the Moral Rating, it was not a Christian film. The values taught were simply that good guys win and bad guys lose. It even implied that sometimes good and evil are not always easy to tell apart, but good will win in the end.


Viewer Comments
I use to watch these cartoons when I was small. I am now 17 and wanted to see this movie. I took my girlfriend with me to see it and told her about the old cartoons. She looked at me like I just wasted my money. But in the end she liked it more than I did! It was great and I very much enjoyed it. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Matt, age 17
After reading your review and considering some of the comments made, my husband and I decided to take our three children, ages 10, 8 and 4 to see this movie last night. I was very disappointed. The two older children (boys) didn’t have any objections, since almost all the humor consisted of very physical sight gags and slapstick. No problem there, but the dialogue of the entire movie was entirely out of their league. The verbal humor was too subtle and mature to be understood by them and they had absolutely no idea what the plot was. I did, however, and that’s where the objection comes in. Here’s how I saw it: Dudley is not just a do-gooder, he is completely clueless. His so-called “damsel in distress” is no more than a sweetly-dressed flirt who will follow anyone waving a dollar bill under her nose. Dudley has more concern with non-existent vampires than with the real bad guy. And the people in his town quickly forsake the law for an easy buck.

The change comes when Dudley, after suffering loss of everything he holds dear, finally concludes that the only way to win is to become the bad guy himself and put Snidely in the “weak” position of being the good guy. He adopts a black dress code, which thoroughly excites the formerly bored Nell, races a motorcycle around, blasting things with a machine gun. He steals what doesn’t belong to him—for the greater good, of course—and wins Nell’s affections by becoming a “stud” (their word, not mine). The reviewers may call it a great movie for the kids because there was no cursing (though I consider the Indian’s language cursing) or nudity or sexual innuendo, but verbally it was over the heads of any children that would enjoy the sight gags, and the faithless characters leave much to be desired. It’s actually hard to like the “good guys” in this movie.

Nell is shallow and “easy”, her father kicks Dudley out of office heartlessly, and even the horse takes off and doesn’t return till the last scenes. And in the end, they win! Jesus used stories all the time to teach Kingdom principles and show people the heart of His Father. I consider story-telling an excellent tool for teaching morality and truth. And stories are fun, especially when they are funny. But when a story this poorly told wins our approval simply because it’s missing certain objectionable elements, I believe we have lost something valuable. I appreciate your reviewers taking the time to see and evaluate these movies, but I truly disagree with this review. It may not have been a “bad” movie, but I think it was a poor one.
—Lisa, age 39
Movie Critics
This action packed comedy is full of hilarious slapstick antics… very few questionable elements, comes close to deserving a G rating.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
“Dudley Do-Right” is designed with a… younger audience… in mind… but the average child will be more enthralled by the coming attractions than the main feature. Still… “Dudley Do-Right” contains just enough clever and/or humorous bits to keep it bearable for parents… far from a rousing recommendation, it’s a lot better than can be said for a majority of the other cartoon-to-motion picture facelifts.
—James Berardinelli, ReelViews