LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens as aspiring performer Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) makes his way backstage to an audition, despite everyone there having already told him no. He attempts to do a magic act, but Hector is told that the act is tired and that they are looking for something fresh. Hector then goes to a pet store to find an animal that he can use in his act. While the shop owner goes to look, he overhears the song “I Like It Like That” and hears someone singing along to it. Hector walks to the back and finds a singing baby crocodile (Shawn Mendes) and decides he has found his act, and he names him Lyle.
At his home in Manhattan, Hector tries to get Lyle to sing again, but he is shy and can only sing but not talk. After giving him a scarf to wrap around him, Lyle begins to sing a few notes. Hector then writes a song for the two of them to perform (“Take a Look at Us Now”), with the two of them practicing a show-stopping number at home. However, when Hector finally scores an opening at a show for the two of them to perform, Lyle chokes onstage due to stage fright, making him and Hector, a laughingstock where the audience demands refunds. Hector leaves Lyle alone at home while he hits the road to look for gigs and scrape up more cash. Lyle is left feeling sad and lonely.
Eighteen months later, Hector’s home is rented out by Mr. and Mrs. Primm (Scoot McNairy and Constance Wu) and their son Josh (Winslow Fegley). Mr. Primm is starting a new job as a teacher, while Mrs. Primm is known for her cookbooks. They meet their rotten neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman), who is the head of the neighborhood committee. Mr. Grumps also has a cat named Loretta, which Josh likes due to her being a rare breed, but Grumps is possessive of Loretta. The Primms then settle into their new home, but Josh is apprehensive of moving there due to how chaotic the city can be. After getting to his room, Josh leaves a milk bowl out for Loretta, who accepts it and makes her take a liking to Josh. He then goes to the attic with her and finds Lyle inside a glass case, where he is pretending to be stuffed. Josh finds a note from Hector informing the reader who Lyle is and that he is Hector’s most prized possession.
Mrs. Primm takes Josh to school, where he quickly feels like an outcast because he walks into a video being filmed by some of the popular kids. Later at home, he hangs out with Loretta when he hears footsteps and singing coming from the attic. He goes upstairs and finds that Lyle is no longer in the case. Josh comes across Lyle standing on his hind legs, which freaks him out. Loretta hisses and lunges toward Lyle, but he accidentally swallows her. Josh chases Lyle out of the apartment and into the streets. He comes across a homeless man who threateningly demands Josh’s phone, but he is saved when Lyle emerges and roars at the man, scaring him away. He also ends up coughing Loretta out. While Lyle is still shy, he obliges Josh’s request to help guide him back home.
Mr. Primm struggles to get his rowdy students in order at school, while Mrs. Primm feels like she has lost her touch with her work, as well as with her family. She finds a bag of chocolate-covered cherries that she told her husband to stop eating since she found out cherries were loaded with sugar and palm oil, but Lyle keeps trying to sneak the bag back to her. Meanwhile, Josh makes one friend at school, a girl named Trudy (Lyric Hurd), after she sees him reading books on crocodiles, and he says he has a pet croc.
Josh begins to spend time with Lyle in private, the two of them engaging in activities such as dumpster-diving around the city since Lyle enjoys eating what other people throw away. They go to a rooftop where Josh tells Lyle about himself, such as how Mrs. Primm is actually his stepmom since his birth mother passed away when he was 2. Lyle then demonstrates his singing abilities (“Top of the World”), which amazes Josh.
Mrs. Primm eventually catches Josh sleeping next to Lyle, which freaks her out. Josh runs after her and tries to explain, but Lyle catches up to them and begins to sing “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You”, surprising Mrs. Primm. While she is not fully warmed up to Lyle, he manages to get there by inspiring her to get back into making new recipes (“Rip Up The Recipe”) and how to have fun again. She decides to keep Lyle a secret between her and Josh.
Mr. Primm notices that his wife has been more upbeat lately and asks her if she might be seeing someone else. She decides it’s time to come clean to him about Lyle, so she and Josh prepare to introduce Mr. Primm to their pet croc. He freaks out as well and begins to move his wife and son out of the house until they are surprised to find Hector showing up. While Lyle isn’t too happy to see him, Hector wins him back by doing their song-and-dance number. Mr. Primm is annoyed to find that Hector has a document that stipulates that he is allowed to stay at their residence for 15 days out of the year, but Mrs. Primm figures they have to get used to it since he is Lyle’s original owner.
Lyle finds Mr. Primm’s old wrestling outfit and whistle, and he encourages him to put it back on so that they can have a wrestling match. Although Lyle puts up a good struggle, Mr. Primm is able to win, giving him a boost of encouragement that he needs to go back to school and use the whistle to keep his students in line.
Mr. Grumps has become suspicious of the Primms due to the noise he has been hearing from their home and the fact that Loretta has been eating whatever Josh leaves for her, giving her irritable bowel syndrome. Grumps holds a meeting with all the neighbors, forcing Mr. and Mrs. Primm to attend since he is looking for whatever reason to have them kicked out. Hector shows up and reveals that he and Grumps grew up together. He uses his charm to draw attention away from the Primms situation and get Grumps to back off for now, which impresses the Primms.
Hector books another show for him and Lyle to perform, but Lyle once again freezes up from stage fright. Soon, some animal control officers show up after receiving an anonymous tip. Hector flees while the Primms attempt to hide Lyle, but it doesn’t work and he is taken to a zoo. The Primms go to see Lyle, but they cannot do anything to free him. Lyle sadly stays in his enclosure with other crocodiles while he thinks back to his time with both Hector and the Primms (“Carried Away”).
Hector finds Josh, who knows that it was Hector who tipped off animal control after being bribed by Mr. Grumps. He admits to Josh that he knows he messed up with Lyle and that he was always more concerned about getting money and making a name for himself without ever considering Lyle’s feelings. He decides he has to do what he can to free Lyle.
Hector goes to the zoo and uses magician tricks to make his way into Lyle’s enclosure, only to be met by the other unfriendly crocodiles. Lyle emerges, but he is still upset with Hector until Josh shows up, and he tells Hector he knows what he has to do. Hector apologizes to Lyle for treating him the way that he did and never thinking about what he wants. Lyle holds the other crocs off, and Josh and Hector help him get free. Unfortunately, the authorities show up, but Hector creates a diversion using a smoke bomb to allow Josh and Lyle to escape.
Josh gets an idea to have Lyle perform on the singing show “Show Us What You Got” to prove that he is not dangerous. They steal a motorcycle and ride through the city before making their way to the music hall where the show is taking place. Josh finds Trudy, who is auditioning, and she helps them make their way to the stage. Although Lyle is nervous, Josh tells him this is the only way people can see who he is. After Josh begins to sing “Take a Look at Us Now,” Lyle overcomes his stage fright and begins to sing, which amazes everyone. Mr. and Mrs. Primm show up after tracking Josh’s phone, and they witness as Lyle wins everyone over.
The family then has to go to court with Lyle since Grumps is trying to make it so that they get kicked out for housing Lyle. Before the judge can decide, Hector arrives with an original deed from his great-grandmother, who built the house and stipulated that the house may be home to any exotic animal. With that, the judge rules in favor of the Primms, and everyone in the court cheers. Mr. Grumps angrily yells at the Primms until Mr. Primm takes him down with a wrestling move.
The Primms then prepare to go on vacation with Lyle so he can see the rest of the world. Hector bids Lyle farewell for now, and he meets Trudy and her beatboxing snake, giving him an idea to represent them as new talent. On the ride out of the city, Josh and Lyle find that Loretta has stowed away with them, and the family begins to sing along to “Crocodile Rock”.
Lyle is a crocodile that can sing but not talk. He is owned by Hector P. Valenti, a struggling performer trying to make it big. After Lyle gets stage fright during their first major performance, Hector leaves Lyle in his house in Manhattan until he can secure a better gig. Over a year later, Mr. and Mrs. Primm move in with their son Josh, and the boy quickly becomes friends with Lyle after seeing he is friendly and can sing. In time, his parents also warm up to Lyle when he helps them improve certain aspects of their life.
The Primms' rotten neighbor Mr. Grumps becomes suspicious of them and does what he can to get them kicked out. Hector returns to the house for Lyle but gets bribed by Grumps into calling animal control on Lyle, getting him sent to a zoo. After feeling great remorse, Hector helps Josh break Lyle out of the zoo. Josh takes Lyle to a talent competition show in the city to prove to an entire audience that Lyle is not dangerous. Lyle overcomes his stage fright and puts on an incredible performance, winning everyone over.
Although Grumps takes the family to court, Hector presents a deed written by his ancestor who built the house that they may keep Lyle and other exotic animals as pets, leaving Grumps defeated. The Primms then take Lyle on vacation, along with Grumps's cat Loretta.