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The Daily Tar Heel

`Monkeybone' Smokes, Like Crack Cocaine


1/2 Star

I've never smoked crack.

But I realize, after taking a good 90 minutes of weekend time that could have otherwise been spent studying for midterms, anyone involved in subjecting me to "Monkeybone" must have been on it, big time.

More "Fritz the Cat" than Disney, "Monkeybone" is a HUGE waste of a talented array of Hollywood whatnots whom I used to respect. It's not a movie that you would just watch for fun, or my idea of fun. It's not even drink-a-few-beers-with-your-buds fun. It's just UGGGHHHHHH!!!!

Brendan Fraser plays Stu Miley, a cartoonist, who besides the fact that he is on the verge of becoming a mainstream hit, has no business being in the same company as his girlfriend, played by Bridget Fonda. After a car accident, Miley is transported to his own pure hell, where he (and the audience) is subjected to a freak show of animation and a groan-inducing little monkey that makes Jar-Jar Binks look saintly.

And, get this. Miley's woman, who is some kind of sleep doctor, injects him with nightmare juice in order to "scare him awake." This is to prevent his sister, who inexplicably is already in the know and hates Miley as much as I did by that point in the film, from pulling the plug on Stu's life support.

In a film such as "Monkeybone," suspension of disbelief is essential. Hell, "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" back in the day worked because you believed that Pee-Wee was plain crazy. But for the love of Homer Simpson, virtually everything in "Monkeybone" looks as fake as a $5 whore. Even the relationship between the two main characters, which is the prime motivation for Miley coming back from cartoony-world, is grossly underplayed.

Director Henry Selick is undoubtedly getting his home egged by Hollywood executives who obviously put a large amount of dough into "Monkeybone." He was responsible for "The Nightmare Before Christmas," a movie that was entertaining and fun, of which "Monkeybone" is neither.

In fact, the only bright light in this dark film comes courtesy of the extremely talented physical comedy of "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Chris Kattan (a.k.a. Mango). Somewhere near the end of this whole mess, he plays the inhabited body of a recently dead gymnast that keeps losing his most precious body parts while looking for an AWOL monkey deserving of a hard spanking. See, I can hardly even explain it.

So if, like me, you have never smoked crack, avoid "Monkeybone" like the plague. You will be happy, crack-free and seven bucks richer.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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