By Mark Ramsey | 2001/02/24

If special effects were a leather-clad dominatrix, Brendan Fraser would be its whipping boy. “Yes, Mistress blue-screen, of course I’ll bark like a dog.”

Brendan’s film choices are random as a flip of the coin and, other than his accountant, that coin is all that will be flipping over Monkeybone.


With a name like “Monkeybone” you’d think this flick would be ripe for snide sexual allusions, and you’d be right – except for the fact that all those allusions are already neatly tucked into the script, much to the surprise of mommies and daddies who naively deposit their young ones at this PG-13 romp.

This movie will do little for Bridget Fonda’s cachet. Then again, Bridget’s cachet is more a product of my vivid recollection of a certain naked backside in a certain crazy roommate movie with Jennifer Jason Leigh than anything else. Every young actor, it seems, has her window for fame. And she can either throw open the shutters or wave discreetly as the UPS man of celebrity passes her by. Bridget has been missing her scheduled pickup for ten years now.

Monkeybone‘s essential plot is right out of the first Batman movie, except for the “hilarious” addition of a comatose state, and I don’t just mean the one the audience is in. Brendan is the comatose one. That’s when his head sends him on a crazy nightmare journey to an acid trip-land called “Downtown.” It looks like Mickey’s Toon Town, but with better production design and fewer strollers.


Whoopi Goldberg is “Death,” the grim reaper herself. Ironically, her comedy hasn’t killed in ages although repeated exposure to Hollywood Squares has been known to induce vomiting. Inexplicably, Death is dressed with an eye patch and a helmet from the French Revolution. What gives? Is Death stalking a matinee of Les Miz?

When Death gets pissed, her head explodes. Fortunately there’s a china cabinet full of Whoopi heads – or maybe they’re bowling balls. Who can tell? The hole count is the same!

Former Marilyn Manson main squeeze Rose McGowan is in this nightmare, just like she’s in yours and mine. Rose, who I suspect has “issues” of multiple volume encyclopedic proportions, provides the cleavage into which a three-dimensional Monkeybone dives. With luck, Monkeybone will trek to South Backdoorland, Rose’s Antarctica-sized posterior land mass. That path is so well-traveled all roads have been paved and numerous scenic overlooks built. Will Monkeybone live to tell the tail?

Kids in the Hall vet Dave Foley has once again proved to be the go-to guy for no-go comedy. Are the kids in the hall in detention, Dave?

SNL’s Chris Kattan is a broken-necked autopsy patient who springs to life only to spray vital organs like Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein sprays saliva. Maybe I’ll laugh in my nightmare.

This movie is the work of an artist who spends too much time manipulating stop-motion animated clay figures and not enough time manipulating his doodle, let alone summoning the nerve to kiss a girl.

I read one critic who wrote: “Monkeybone is occasionally brilliant, but the story is frustrating in its refusal to stick to any logical core.” Oh for God’s sake, no wonder people hate movie critics. This ain’t called “Moby Dick,” after all – although, come to think of it, it could be.

Despite many visually zippy, imaginative moments, Monkeybone is Roger Rabbit redux and ridiculous.

Photos Copyright ©2001 Twentieth Century Fox


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