The ''Dudley Do-Right'' star says his kid flick pokes fun at adults

By Liane Bonin
Updated August 26, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Brendan Fraser
Credit: Doan Gregory
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To the untrained eye, ”Dudley Do-Right” (opens Friday) looks like the usual brainless summertime kiddie fare. The trailer, which shows star Brendan Fraser getting repeatedly smacked in the head, veers closer to WWF high jinks than burning political commentary. But Fraser says grown-up audiences should watch for the film’s sly subtext. ”When you have a real broad subject like this, you have a responsibility to include some political satire,” says the 30-year-old actor. ”You try to say something beyond the obvious.”

Despite the silly slapstick, the evil scheme of villain Snidely Whiplash (played by Alfred Molina) ”speaks volumes about capitalism,” says Fraser. Whiplash’s decision to take over the tiny hamlet of Semi-Happy Valley — renaming every business, including the funeral parlor, after himself — smacks of a Donald Trump-size ego. Similarly, Snidely’s upscale t-shirt and souvenir concession could get a bitter laugh out of any parent who’s been dragged through the gift shops of Disneyland.

Not all of ”Dudley”’s political targets are so innocuous. Some viewers may bristle at the movie’s depiction of a Native American village that isn’t quite what it seems. Led by a chief (played by ”The Godfather”’s Alex Rocco) whose roots are closer to the Big Apple than the great plains, the not-so-native members of the Kumquat Nation attract tourist dollars with a Vegas-style review that includes flying corn maidens and squaws who perform a Lord of the Dance routine. Fraser dismisses suggestions that the parody might play into racial stereotyping. ”To my eye, all of the characters in the movie are gleefully chewing the scenery,” he shrugs. ”We’re all in on a good joke here, and no one escapes the stinging satirical take on the material.” Yeah, but just wait till the Mounties start picketing…

Dudley Do-Right

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  • Hugh Wilson