On Its 20th Anniversary, We Forced Two Kangaroo Experts to Watch ‘Kangaroo Jack’

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On Its 20th Anniversary, We Forced Two Kangaroo Experts to Watch ‘Kangaroo Jack’

Twenty years ago, a movie hit theaters that forever changed the face of filmmaking.

Nah, we’re just fucking with you. The movie that was released on January 17, 2003 was Kangaroo Jack, a heaping piece of marsupial shit starring Jerry O’Connell and Anthony Anderson. If you haven’t seen it — and for your sake, we hope you haven’t — it’s about two idiots from Brooklyn who are forced to go to Australia to deliver $50,000 for a mobster. Once they arrive, they run over a kangaroo and assume that they’ve killed it. Anderson then decides it’d be funny to put his hoodie on the kangaroo and pose for a picture with it. But the kangaroo wakes up, kicks O’Connell and runs away wearing Anderson’s hoodie, which also happens to have the mobster’s cash in the pocket (but of course). The rest of the movie is an agonizing process — for the viewer at least — of them chasing the kangaroo all over Australia

Kangaroo Jack is precisely the type of movie that would qualify for A Clockwork Orange-style, force-your-eyes-open kind of torture, which is pretty much what we decided to do to a couple of perfectly innocent Australian kangaroo experts.

What did you think of Kangaroo Jack?

George Wilson, an ecology professor at the Australian National University Climate Change Institute: Well, it’s bloody rubbish, of course. 

Bill Bateman, an ecologist and professor at Curtin University: One of the first things that struck me was the very interesting geography of Australia. They seem to walk hundreds of kilometers in a completely illogical, random route. It was also a surprise to see Christopher Walken in it. I don’t know if he had a divorce to pay off or something like that. Overall though, I enjoyed the movie a bit more than I thought I would. It was fun.

How well did the movie capture kangaroo behavior?

Bateman: The kangaroo makes some very weird squeaking noises in the film. Kangaroos don’t sound like that at all. They’re pretty quiet. Sometimes they make deep rumbling noises, but they certainly don’t squeak. Also, one of the stars gets kicked in the movie, then he recovers and laughs it off. But you wouldn’t be able to just laugh off an adult male kangaroo kicking you. You’d probably die, or at least have a ruptured liver. The most accurate thing, unfortunately, is that they first meet a kangaroo by hitting it on the road. Kangaroos are really, really common roadkill here. 

How do they keep locating the same kangaroo over and over again?

Bateman: Yeah, that’s probably impossible.

Wilson: There are between 40 and 50 million kangaroos in Australia. We’ve put radio transmitters on some of them to help track their movements, and even then they’re hard to keep track of. Unless one of those guys had the skills of an aboriginal tracker, it’d be impossible for them to keep finding the same kangaroo.

Would a kangaroo wear a hoodie?

Wilson: They’d definitely try to get it off. I don’t think that thing would have lasted very long at all on a kangaroo, but it’d make a mess of the story if he took it off in the first five minutes.

Bateman: I’d be surprised if a kangaroo merrily hopped off wearing a hoodie without trying to shake it off. They also have kind of sloping shoulders, so it’d probably just fall off after a while. On the other hand, as much as I love kangaroos, they aren’t blessed with a great brain, so if it did stay on him, he might not notice after a while. Kangaroos are a bit thick.

What would a kangaroo do with $50,000?

Wilson: Kangaroos love short green grass. They love golf courses because people irrigate the grass and there’s plenty of water. Most of the golf courses around here have 400 or 500 kangaroos on them, which is a real problem for golfers. Kangaroo heaven is a golf course; so if a Kangaroo had $50,000, he might buy a golf course.

Bateman: Kangaroos aren’t very bright, so they’d probably spend the money on food and female kangaroos. That, or they’d invest in Twitter.

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