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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look33.33%
Average: 14.81%
Pretty Bad: 16.67%
Total Crap: 29.63%

5 reviews, 24 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"I knew there would be monkeys in hell."
3 stars

"Monkeybone" is a fairly bad movie in a good movie's clothing.

It was directed by Henry Selick, who also helmed "The Nightmare Before Christmas," and the look and feel are the same: dark, visually entertaining, and sometimes just flat-out weird. There are hallucinatory images that are nearly nightmarish, and the mixing of real actors, computer animation and puppets is impressive.

What it lacks is a good script. Unsure whether it's a comedy or a big-screen comic book, "Monkeybone" dabbles in both and does neither one very well.

Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser) is a cartoonist whose strip, "Monkeybone," is about to be turned into a TV show. All the money and merchandising are coming with it, but Stu is more interested in proposing to his girlfriend, Julie (Bridget Fonda).

On the way home from the premiere screening, Stu wrecks the car and goes into a coma. While Julie keeps a vigil (and Stu's heartless sister plans to pull the plug), Stu's soul is sent to Downtown, a hellish carnival land whose denizens watch other people's nightmares for entertainment, and where the bar's lounge act is ... Monkeybone.

Monkeybone (voice of John Turturro) is Stu's repressed Id, in the form of a cartoon monkey. He's brash and loud and oversexed -- all the things Stu normally is not. Stu would just as soon keep Monkeybone repressed, but instead the two of them must work together to steal an "exit pass"
and get back to the land of the living.

To do this, they encounter Death herself (Whoopi Goldberg), but Monkeybone double-crosses Stu. He leaves Stu in Downtown, and himself goes back into Stu's body. Julia wonders why Stu is suddenly so wacky, but what are you gonna do?

The real Stu has to find another body, meanwhile, and this leads to the film's best sequence. Chris Kattan plays a newly deceased organ donor whom Stu briefly inhabits, and it's hilarious. Kattan makes for a surprisingly good Brendan Fraser double, at least in voice and manner,
and that climactic scene is very enjoyable.

Everything else, well, no so much. The humor is scattershot and the characters non-existent. It's downright boring sometimes.

Oddly, though the special effects are seamless, much of the regular filmmaking is sloppy. Stu's hands and face are covered with frosting in one shot, clean the next, and sort-of messy in the next. It's daylight as Stu enters a building, dark when he briefly leaves, and light again when he comes out for good later.

Perhaps Selick was so intent on getting the crazy stuff right, he neglected to look at the mundane things, like continuity and a good script.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/23/01 16:28:52
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User Comments

8/24/06 Assparade Hello i really like your site! 4 stars
2/08/04 jmsynth Not for everyone, I personally enjoyed it 4 stars
12/01/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* i luv Chris Kattan!!!! 4 stars
10/23/03 Ingo A special kinda fun 4 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Kattan is the bright spot in this otherwise limp biscuit. Worth watching just for him alone 4 stars
4/04/03 Jack Bourbon Chris Kattan had his shining moment. Now we can kill him. 2 stars
10/03/02 Butterbean Cool World < Monkybone < Beetlejuice. It needs Tim Burton's direction. 4 stars
6/17/02 Jim Interesting dark fantasy with some wild-ass imagery. Fraser plays a good monkey. 4 stars
4/24/02 Martin Christiansen Yes the movie stinks! The only uplifting thing about this shitty movie is Chris Kattan... 1 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo Live action/animation combo bombs...Tries too hard to be funny and isn't...a waste of time 1 stars
11/17/01 Mr. Thats just a cartoon Weird 2 stars
8/10/01 Audra When I saw Chris Kattan as the dead gymnast for the first time, i couldn't stop laughing. 4 stars
7/27/01 Moonderoon Lacey All else aside, if you appreciate insanely cool visuals you MUST see this film. 4 stars
7/15/01 Basil Should of had more scenes with Rose Mcgowan. 3 stars
7/13/01 Ray Andersen Movie is great, DVD is even better 5 stars
4/14/01 Jessica VERY funny and VERY entertaining! A bonus if you want to see Dave Foley's ass : ) 5 stars
4/09/01 Audra The movie isn't totally perfect. But what movie is? This movie has laughs and romance. 4 stars
3/25/01 Sid 6.7 A meretricious, gauzy hybrid of live action and animation with a noxious primate as sidekic 1 stars
3/01/01 YelloMiata@AOL.COM This movie was very entertaining. I recommend it to the unwashed masses! 5 stars
2/28/01 Anne a the dumbing down of America 2 stars
2/25/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) By no means perfect, but visually interesting and fairly well-acted.... 4 stars
2/25/01 Darren Shea Although flawed, I found the visual inventiveness and comedy kept me entertained throughout 4 stars
2/24/01 Katchoo Visually disturbing! 3 stars
2/24/01 NC Death should go after this movie, not the guys from Southpark. 1 stars
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  23-Feb-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Henry Selick

Written by
  Sam Hamm

  Brendan Fraser
  Bridget Fonda
  Dave Foley
  Giancarlo Esposito
  Rose McGowan
  Chris Kattan

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