Monkeybone (2001)

MONKEYBONE, a dreadful comic fantasy that's been promoted with logo-
bearing... whoopie cushions, if that tells you anything, is feature
three from stop-motion director Henry Selick, animator extraordin-
aire of the less-than-entire-extraordinary JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
bonafide delights, sure.  It's just the songs that suck...)  This
time, it's animation *with* live action, blended together a la and I
apologize for the insult Mr. Zemeckis--  WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?,
with Brendan "Will Appear in Anything For Work" Fraser as an acclaim-
ed cartoonist whose strip has just been sold as an television pilot.
(He's introduced at an exhibitor event, where he's shown prototypes 
of merchandising tie-ins and which, of course, he disdains.  Yawn.)  
Barely out of the parking lot, Sketch Boy wrecks his car, slips into 
a coma, and promptly arrives at a "dream land."  And that's where he 
his popular creation Monkeybone--  a lively, lewd, organ grinder-
style simian who presumably gets to say or do all the things that the 
repressed cartoonist can't.  Like dive head-first into Rose McGowen's 
cleavage.  (He knows if he tried, it would be...  a bust.)

In addition to Monkey C., Coma World is populated with other psycho-
logical baggage, which, in turn, translates into plenty of fabulously 
disturbing images!  (And did I mention the animated film-within-a-
film posing Sir Bone as embodiment of Fraser's character's *penis*?
Sure makes you wonder what issues the director is working out..)  
Yup, good 'n' dark stuff, and with some splendidly surreal sights.  
Like a bust of Abraham Lincoln ("the Great Emancipator!") floating 
above an oversized carnival attraction.  And genuinely eye-popping 
when combined with Selleck's amazing stop-motion effects.  Too bad, 
then, the live-action stuff is so crappy.  Like those lower-budget-
looking-than-should-look Coma World walk-throughs, its streets filled 
with imaginative characters and all of whom look like, well, actors 
in costumes.   Or, worse, the jaw-dropping awful "real world" scenes, 
with the actors all looking half-distracted and half-unsure of what 
to do next.  Laughable, to the say the least.  Unwatchable, says me.  
And said to my companions at the thirty-minute mark, right before a  
bee-line to the lobby.  I'll take an empty room and my *own* inner 
demons any day.  With Bridget Fonda, Dave Foley, Whoppi Goldberg, 
and, as the voice of the title character, John Tuturro.  (Rated "PG-
13"/? min.)

Grade: F (extrapolated)

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Not a Boner

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros