Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Certificate: PG

Starring: Constance Wu, Javier Bardem, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley

Release date: 2022

3 out of 5


American children’s book character Lyle the crocodile gets his first big screen adaptation, in this fun family adventure for little ones.

Discovered in a pet store by failed entertainer Hector P Valenti (Bardem, who is a treat), Lyle is a crocodile who can sing (voice supplied by Shawn Mendes) but can’t talk. Valenti tries to incorporate Lyle into his act, but Lyle has stage fright, so instead Valenti heads off to tour alone – and to dodge all the people he owes money to – leaving Lyle alone in their New York attic apartment.

It’s there he is discovered by the new family that moves into the house, stressed teacher dad Mr Primm (McNairy), chef Mrs Primm (Wu) and young Josh (Fegley), who befriends Lyle and tries to keep him secret from their neighbour (Brett Gelman).

Fans of Paddington, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Stuart Little will know where this is going – Lyle will change the Primm family’s life for the better but there will be some danger in store before a cuddly ending – and the journey itself is enjoyable, thanks to some lovely performances, a jolly overall tone (even little ones shouldn’t get too upset during the dramatic bits) and some clever CGI work that makes a singing crocodile not only believable but somehow adorable (and that’s quite an achievement when you remember the reptiles are better known for sharp teeth and the ability to eat people).

Yes, it’s almost harder to believe the Primms can afford their gorgeous New York brownstone than that there is a singing crocodile living there, and yes, it’s all a bit predictable. But it’s also really cute, and a sweet, musical fantasy with a big heart that young kids will love (and is a must-see for adults, just for Bardem’s wonderful performance).

Is Lyle, Lyle Crocodile suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...


Lyle is taken away to the zoo, which may upset very young viewers, especially when he is put in an area with other crocodiles.

They may also be a little scared when they first see Lyle once he has become a full-sized crocodile, but he is soon shown to be harmless.

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