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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 08/26/1999,

Dudley Do-Right

The animated "Fractured Fairy Tale" short that opens Dudley Do-Right is funny, but it also helps show just why Hugh Wilson's live-action version of Jay Ward's 1960s cartoon is such a dud. Ward, who also created Rocky and Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle, was a master of puns, self-referential humor, goofy characters, and his trademark, the irreverent and meddlesome narrator. In short, his cartoons relied on clever dialogue, not loud pratfalls and gross sound effects. Brendan Fraser -- who you'll remember also played George of the Jungle in that commercially successful but less than satisfying adaptation -- does his best to re-create the hapless Canadian Mountie of the title, and respectable efforts are also put in by Sarah Jessica Parker as his girlfriend Nell, Alfred Molina as the fiendish villain Snidely Whiplash, and Monty Python's Eric Idle in a small role as a country bumpkin. But despite the acting talent and Ward's classic characters, this movie will likely be best remembered for the scenes that tastelessly parody Native American culture.

-- Mark Bazer