|Directed by:||Henry Selick|
|Written by:||Sam Hamm|
|Starring:||Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, Chris Kattan, Giancarlo Esposito, Rose McGowan|
|Released:||May 31, 2001|
Writer Stu Miley (Fraser) has had a major career breakthrough with his cartoon character, Monkeybone, being picked up by the Comedy Channel who have commissioned six episodes to be made. Stu is a quiet guy who isn’t ready for Hollywood and won’t succumb to commercialism. Despite the urgings of his agent Herb (Dave Foley), he doesn’t want stuffed Monkeybones in toy stores or Monkeybone Happy Meals in fast-food restaurants.
In a car accident with his girlfriend Julie (Fonda), Stu slips into a deep coma. As his body remains motionless in the real world, Stu’s mind finds itself trapped in a bizarre world of nightmares known as Downtown. There’s a crazy assortment of characters (including Monkeybone) who are waiting for an “exit ticket” from Death (played by Whoopi Goldberg) so that they can awake and return to their original lives.
After spending three months in a coma, Stu’s sister is ready to pull the plug. In Downtown, Monkeybone has orchestrated a scheme and steals an “exit ticket” so he can check out the real world for himself in Stu’s body. So when Stu awakes just before the plug is pulled, everyone is overjoyed until they find that Stu isn’t quite the same person...
Monkeybone is a very strange film that some critics have called adventurous but I found muddled and lacking logic. Brendan Fraser has a knack for being silly on screen but I feel I’ve seen this side of Fraser one too many times (as in Bedazzled, Dudley Do-Right, Blast From The Past and George Of The Jungle). He was brilliant in 1998’s Gods And Monsters but hasn’t capitalised on the critical acclaim and seems content to play unchallenging characters.
Fraser shouldn’t be singled out because the whole cast is inappropriate. Dave Foley, Rose McGowan and especially Whoopi Goldberg don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Director Henry Selick’s previous two films, The Nightmare Before Christmas and James And The Giant Peach, were both animated and a cast not required. Hopefully he has learnt lessons from this experience.
Monkeybone will go down in history as a box-office bomb with its rumoured $75m budget. The film didn’t even make $6m in the United States which shows that a film can be original and unimpressive at the same time. Don’t expect anything similar anytime soon.