Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Monkeybone (2001)

Back in the big old 2000, Brendan Fraser seemed destined to be a huge star.  George of the Jungle and The Mummy had both done great business, and if nothing else had set the box office alight, well there was always the upcoming sequel to the latter film to right his ship.  As long as he avoided any more disasters like Dudley Do-Right, he'd be fine.

Enter Monkeybone.

I don't know who thought that spending $75 million on a movie that can be summed up as "over sexed animated monkey and fart jokes" was a good plan, but if you're one of them, please let me know so I can pitch you some ideas that I am sure will be equally successful.  For comparison, the second Mummy film, which came out in the same year as this - and was, remember, a special effects extravaganza and the sequel to a major hit - cost $93 million; only about 25% more.

Fraser plays Stu, a cartoonist who formerly struggled with terrible dreams, but - thanks to treatment and falling in love with the beautiful doctor who helped him - has put the dark days behind him.  He's now on the cusp of marriage to the lady in question, as well as financial success with the launch of an animated series based on his comic character Monkeybone.  That's the animated monkey in the picture above, obviously.

Alas, there's a "comedic" accident and Stu's body ends up in a coma while his consciousness travels to Down Town in the land of nightmares.  There he meets his own creation made manifest, and learns that the only way of returning to the woman he loves is to sneak into Death's domain and steal an "exit ticket".  This he sets out to do, allegedly-comedic monkey in tow.

Now as it happens, the escape attempt doesn't do quite how Stu intends.  It is in fact more or less just the first act of the film, with the second being a very tiresome half hour of "bum and pee-pee"-level jokes before the conclusion finally rolls around and embarrasses itself with some truly terrible green-screen work.

The basic premise of someone lost in a nightmarish world and trying to get back to their own life is certainly one that could work well, either as a drama or as a dark comedy.  But it needs a lot more effort put into it than this lazy, juvenile effort.

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