Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) is a passionate but unsuccessful solo entertainer who tries to entertain his audience with cheap magic tricks. The only problem is that he has no audience at all. Hector, however, is persistent and will not be discouraged. Always looking for new sensations to attract people to his shows, one day he discovers a singing crocodile in a pet shop. He decides that the animal named Lyle should be the star of his new show and even mortgages his Manhattan home to rent a theater for the new show. But Lyle, who has been heralded as a “singing crocodile”, remains silent on stage! His stage fright is so strong that he cannot utter a single sound. Hector becomes the laughing stock of the audience, loses his house, and decides to try his luck somewhere else first. He leaves Lyle in the attic of his house.
18 months later, young Josh ( Winslow Fegley ) moves in with his parents ( Constance Wu and Scott McNairy ). Since Josh initially feels alien and uncomfortable in the big city and finds it difficult to make friends, a close bond develops between him and Lyle after initial fears. Except that neither Josh’s parents nor the terrible neighbor Mr. Grumps ( Brett Gelman ) is allowed to know about Josh’s existence. But of course, a crocodile cannot be hidden in the house for long – and then Hector P. Valenti returns.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is based on a popular 1965 children ‘s book by Bernard Waber. The singing crocodile gets his voice from pop singer Shawn Mendes, who lends his voice to him in the original version (most of the songs were dubbed into German for the German version). Incidentally, while Lyle loves to sing, he’s otherwise mute – Krokodil can’t speak it; his language is music.
The screenplay makes it clear with a mallet that Josh is also extremely shy and anything but a relaxed child: the boy, who is not used to the big city, winces at every loud noise at first and even has his way to school on his mobile phone’s navigation app preplanned. His mother is a cookbook author who explicitly only sticks to tried-and-tested recipes when cooking for her family; the father, on the other hand, is a teacher with difficulties in asserting himself with his students. It goes without saying that the son is also nervous and overly cautious. In any case, the film is definitely not told in a subtle way in this respect.