This handsome, muscular player, the younger brother of actor Anthony LaPaglia, initially pursued a career in medicine as an emergency room physician in both his native Australia and the UK. Encouraged...
In the 2006 animated blockbuster Happy Feet an alienated emperor penguin named Mumbles found empowerment through tap-dancing and in so doing managed to both attract a mate and stop the overfishing that imperiled his Antarctic habitat. Directed by George Mitchell – the same George Mitchell who gave us the post-apocalyptic Mad Max trilogy and the almost despairingly bleak Babe: Pig in the City – Happy Feet paired its broadly conventional narrative with a darker sensibility not often seen in talking-animal fare.
The film’s sequel Happy Feet Two finds Mitchell (co-directing with Gary Eck) both more jovial and more easily distracted. The story begins straightforwardly enough with Mumbles (Elijah Wood) now grown-up and by all appearances well-adjusted ceding the mantle of self-discovery to his son Erik (Ava Acres). Boogie fever has swept the once dance-averse penguin nation but in a cruelly ironic twist Erik has inherited none of his father’s nifty moves. But just as Happy Feet Two appears intent on recycling its predecessor’s basic storyline the film abruptly changes course and embarks on a series of detours that seemed geared more as fodder for throwaway gags and showy set pieces than anything else. The disparate narrative elements while enjoyable in isolation never quite coalesce into a meaningful whole leaving us entertained but unfulfilled.
As before Happy Feet Two features a variety of buoyant song-and-dance numbers with Alecia Moore (aka P!nk) lending her formidable pipes to spirited re-workings of “Rhythm Nation” and “Under Pressure ” among others. Robin Williams returns for double duty as both Ramon a diminutive oversexed Latin lover and Lovelace a fiery Southern-preacher type. (Lovelace later adopts a Rastafarian dialect allowing Williams to achieve the rare culture-caricature trifecta.) His voracious scenery-devouring is all the more impressive given the grandeur of the scenery. Not to be left out of the quasi-Vaudevillian comic shenanigans Hank Azaria lays on a thick Scandinavian shtick as Sven a charismatic Arctic émigré who presents himself as the only penguin in the world who can fly. Azaria is a hoot but the film’s best moments come courtesy of the cast’s highest-profile additions Matt Damon and Brad Pitt voicing Bill and Will (respectively) two tiny krill in search of meaning at the bottom of the food chain.
Appeared briefly in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry"
Starred in the UPN series "7 Days"
Cast in first major acting role, as Detective Tommy McNamara on the Fox cop series "New York Undercover"
Returned to Australia and began acting while still practicing medicine
In fall, joined cast of the CBS drama "The District"
Worked for three years as an emergency room physician
Born and raised in Australia
This handsome, muscular player, the younger brother of actor Anthony LaPaglia, initially pursued a career in medicine as an emergency room physician in both his native Australia and the UK. Encouraged by his older sibling, LaPaglia began studying acting in Australia and made a few stage appearances. After marking time practicing medicine in London, he moved to NYC in 1994 and began studying acting at the Circle in the Square school. Within three months of graduating, LaPaglia had landed his first major acting role, complete with an authentic 'Noo Yawk' accent, as Detective Tom McNamara on "New York Undercover", a role he played during the 1996-97 season. After a cameo appearance in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry" (1997), the actor returned to the series grind as the star of the UPN sci-fi series "7 Days" (1998-2001), playing a time traveling agent who is given one week to avert a disaster.
"I'd rather act a cop than act a doctor. . . . It would just seem kind of weird pretending to be [a doctor] when you are one." --LaPaglia quoted in "The Doctor Is in 'Undercover'", NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, August 1996
"If you're asking if there's any competition [with his brother], there really isn't. We're two separate people. Our acting is entirely different. I guess we look similar, but our styles are different. I'm much younger than he is, so we're not competing for the same parts or anything like that." --LaPaglia quoted in TIME OUT NEW YORK, August 28-September 4, 1996