Sunday, April 1, 2007


Monkeybone; Fantastic comedy, USA, 2001; D: Henry Selick, S: Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, Dave Foley, Chris Kattan, Giancarlo Esposito, Rose McGowan, Whoopi Goldberg

Stu Miley is a comic book artist. His newest work "Monkeybone", a comic book about a hyperactive monkey, became a hit. He has been thinking to propose his girlfriend Julie for a long time, but then he has a car accident and falls into a coma. His soul and his imaginary creation Monkeybone end up in some sort of hell called Downtown. Still, they manage to steal the ticket for life from death. But then Monkeybone double crosses Stu and returns into his body just as the doctors were about to disconnect the machines for life support. Now in Stu's body, Monkeybone organizes a mass of stupid promotions for the comic book, while Stu's soul manages to return into some dead man's body. He manages to get back to his own body and Monkeybone back to his imagination.

"Monkeybone" is a nightmare for every filmmaker. Because it's one of those movies where, once things start to go wrong, they start an avalanche that can't be stopped. It's an awful film in which things started to go downhill fast after a few solid jokes, a phantasmagorical horror mess, an unbearable chaos that leaves a feeling as if you have to eat your most distasteful food for 90 minutes. Henry Selick distastefully copied Burton's "Betleejuice" and his 75 million $ heavy fantasy flopped at the box office deservedly. The film's biggest problem is that it isn't funny at all: except for two solid gags in hell (Stu meets the soul of Stephen King who explains to him that his human body has been taken by a dog years ago, Death comments how she is "saving some room for those "South Park" guys"), the story is full of unbelievably stupid ideas, from the nightmare in which Stu becomes an insect on a table for anatomy, through the puppet that farts up to the finale where a living corpse/zombie is shooting at Stu's body with his dead organs. There is no art in this. It's a pity, because Brendan Fraser is solid and Bridget Fonda is pretty good, and the stop-motion animation special effects are amusing. And they look like they are in the wrong film. "Betllejuice" was also weird and strange without limits, but it was still handled much smoother and better.


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