It’s been a somewhat slow start to 2023 for Netflix. The world’s most popular streamer has made more headlines for the bungled messaging surrounding its upcoming password-sharing crackdown than because of any must-watch content hitting the platform — but its new No. 2 movie is making finally giving Netflix something positive to shout about.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile features the voice of Shawn Mendes as the titular reptile. While this charming family flick was released in theaters in October 2022, it’s now making an even bigger splash after hitting Netflix last week (Saturday, Feb. 4). The film has climbed to second in the Netflix most-watched list, behind only You People — which has topped the Netflix chart for over a week now.
Naturally, the film has made fans of the teen heartthrob singer very happy, but the musical-comedy is also a great pick for families. If you’re considering adding Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile to your watchlist, here’s everything you need to know, and we'll also try to answer the all-important question of whether you should skip it or stream it.
What is Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile about?
As you’ve probably guessed already, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile centers on a crocodile named Lyle, but he's no ordinary scaly reptile. Lyle lives on East 88th Street in New York City, and while he can’t talk, he can certainly belt out a tune.
A young boy named Josh (Winslow Fegley) is struggling with making friends and his own laundry list of phobias, but his life changes upon discovering Lyle in the antic of his new home. The duo quickly become friends, though Josh's parents (Constance Wu and Scoot McNairy) are initially skeptical of keeping a crocodile in a city townhouse. Soon, though, they come to embrace Lyle as a member of the family.
But trouble is just around the corner when one of the family’s neighbors discovers Lyle and insists that the friendly animal belongs in a zoo. Plus, Lyle’s first owner, the charismatic Hector Valenti (Javier Bardem), arrives on the scene and wants the croc to sing in a national talent show. There’s just one problem: Lyle has terrible stage fright.
Based on the beloved children’s book of the same name by Bernard Waber, and with new musical numbers from the songwriters of The Greatest Showman, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a film that intends to have the whole family smiling and singing along.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile reviews: What the critics say?
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile enjoyed reasonably solid reviews from critics when it was originally released last year. The family film currently holds a strong 72% score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, but its audience score is even higher at a very impressive 93%.
Cath Clarke of the Guardian declared that “the film’s good-natured warmth wins the day” but only that it only “just” achieved this feat. Richar Brody of the New Yorker was even more impressed, saying “Good cheer and exuberant humor enliven this clever live-action musical adaptation of Bernard Waber’s classic children’s-book series.”
Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com was particularly enthusiastic about Lyle’s adventures. They called it “a warm-hearted family film with great musical numbers that will make another generation of kids hopefully search the attic on the chance that they might find a singing crocodile.” That’s strong praise indeed.
The Washington Post’s Thomas Floyd offered another positive write-up, saying “This family flick delivers enough pulse-quickening earworms and warmth to melt even the iciest of hearts.” But G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle was less impressed, saying “the problem with this toothless film, directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, is that it’s just so meh.”
Should you stream Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile on Netflix?
If you’re looking for a new Netflix movie that the entire family can enjoy together, then Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile seems a perfect choice. Its easy-going charms are sure to win you over, and the musical numbers are all fantastic thanks to the vocal talents of Shawn Mendes.
It’s certainly not the most complex film, and older audience members will likely find its grand finale a little predictable, but this is definitely a movie that’s about the journey rather than the destination. If you missed this one in movie theaters last year, don’t make that same mistake twice. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile appears to be the rare Netflix movie that the whole family can enjoy together.