Monkeybone Movie Review

Despite Fox's attempts to market this film on the coattails of director Henry Selick's success with Tim Burton vehicle The Nightmare Before Christmas, be thou not fooled. Monkeybone bears none of the charm or character of its predecessor. The story of a cartoonist (Brendan Fraser) who falls into a coma and enters a world where the star he created, Monkeybone (who is -- get this -- both a monkey and a metaphor for the cartoonist's own penis), this film lacks as much in the way of creative inspiration as it does in taste.

It's not that the unending stream of preschoolish fart and pecker jokes are offensive, they're just tiresome and invariably expected. And they persist, from the opening scene to the entirely unsurprising conclusion. Fortunately, though, the film has some subplots. Unfortunately, they're absolutely senseless.

Bridget Fonda plays the cartoonist's girlfriend, to whom he had intended to propose before his accident. As such, she serves sort of blandly as his motivation to return to the world. On the other hand, Rose McGowan plays the purring catwoman in the fantasy world, and she's plenty of reason to stay. The cartoonist, however, is not tempted (though any other male with a pulse might be), and the feline nymph assists him in returning to the world to save his body and his girlfriend from the treachery of the monkey. Along the way we are treated to a mesmerizingly lame appearance from Saturday Night Live's Chris Kattan, who we all will someday recognize as the same sort of one trick pony Dana Carvey (remember that wacky Church Lady?) turned out to be.

Attempting to pinpoint exactly where this flick goes awry is a tricky thing to do. Between the cold fish delivery of the sophomoric dialogue and the insanely infantile butthole humor, it's really a toss-up. Surviving the first half of this 82-minute nightmare is easy enough. It's the second half that kills, as the wildly desperate "plot twists" kick in and Stephen King turns up for his ridiculous cameo to make a tired Cujo joke.

Chances are, if you're a die-hard Brendan Fraser fan, you'll love this movie in the same way you love all of his idiotic work. But, if you're over the age of 12 and still have at least a third of your brain cells, you'll do well to spend your seven dollars elsewhere. Then again, Rose McGowan....

...and if you didn't get enough of Rose the first time around, check out the Monkeybone DVD, which features a pile of extended scenes with commentary that hint at the possibility of the film having been a much better one, had the studio and producer Chris Columbus not gotten involved. A Selick-provided commentary track is also available for the entire length of the film, in case you'd really like to hear what -- or if -- the director was thinking when he made this thing.

Hiss.


Comments

Monkeybone Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: PG-13, 2001

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