Friday, September 21, 2012

Bad Lieutenant 's Naughty Monkey

In queuing up 1994’s Monkey Trouble, I was really looking for two things:

-The monkey to wear a variety of hats

-Harvey Keitel to dress like a pirate and run through the beaches of Florida shouting “That’s my monkey!” with a vaguely European accent.

I received both.

Quick Plot: Young Eva (pronounced “Eh-va,” which is just annoying) longs to own a dog, but her square of a mom (Mimi Rogers) refuses due to Eh-va’s irresponsibleness, her stepfather’s allergies, and baby brother’s existence. Devastated not to have anything noteworthy to present at next month’s Show & Tell, Eh-va wanders the sidewalk in sadness only to befriend Sticky Fingers (pre-Mallrats, this just meant thieving), a runaway carpaccio monkey trying to escape the life of crime he’s thus far lived with Harvey Keitel’s pickpocket street performer.

Really, that’s all one needs. Monkey Trouble, much like Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, suffers a little from too polished a final product. The young Thora Birch is perfectly apt at playing a bratty but vaguely sympathetic tween, and while the idea of a kleptomaniac monkey seems fraught with wonders, it never really leads to any truly wacky shenanigans. 

Although fear not, Ed fans: we get monkey piss and farts 21 and 23 minutes in, respectively.

Also, we get pirate Harvey Keitel hamming it up like there was a sale on pork rinds. With blackened teeth and a Jack Sparrow wardrobe, the man gives Jon Karate Dog Voight a run for his immediately cashed paycheck and without it, Monkey Trouble would probably be insufferable, even with the occasional white boy rap group and adorable monkey wearing monkey pants. 

High Points
Did I mention that Harvey Keitel plays a petty thief dressed like a pirate with a pet monkey and bad accent?

Low Points
Did I mention that stuff happens in this film that does not include Harvey Keitel plays a petty thief dressed like a pirate with a pet monkey and bad accent?

Lessons Learned
Most pirates in the Caribbean are retired and own restaurants

All monkeys are afraid of snakes 

Even a monkey can appreciate the versatile use of a caboodle

Stray Observations
I understand mom is busy with a toddler, but shouldn’t she make mention of the fact that her 11 year old daughter draws with all the skill of a dyslexic infant with a crayon stuck to its foot?

The Winning Line
“What have you done to my monkey sweetheart?”
Because it’s Harvey Keitel asking this question to a little girl, and it’s fabulous

Standard Animals Doing Human Stuff Trope Checklist
New Kid In Town: X
Recent Dead or Divorced Parent: Check

Montage: Damn you, X
New Friendship: Check
Potentially Inappropriate ‘Friendship’ Between Child & Unrelated Adult (Human): X. It's more 'inappropriate enemyship between young Thora Birch and pirate Harvey Keitel'
Evil Corporate Enemy: X
Original Song: X
Bully Comeuppance: X
Small Town Values: X
Back To Nature Moral: X. 

Overall Score: 2.5/10 
Disappointment everywhere!

A-Paws Meter
Meh. Harvey Keitel fans will certainly get their money’s worth (though sans typical Harvey Keitel money shot fans have come to expect from the often nude actor) and those who just really dig monkeys wearing tassled vests, Bermuda shorts, diapers, and backwards baseball caps might indeed find lots to love. For me, Monkey Trouble just didn’t have the full flavored cheese I’ve come to love in Animals Doing Human Stuff cinema. 


  1. I'm a little behind on ADHSM, but I want to throw in a vote for the German animated movie "Felidae." What is the human stuff the cats in this movie do? Murder, solving murders, joining religious cults, having night stands, and bragging about it later:

    The dub is clearly a fandub(note the credits are still in German), but it was a great book and the strength of the material carries over; it might not be mockable in terms of quality, but I think you can get plenty of mileage of its simple status as a unique oddity.-Dustin

  2. Sorry I missed your comment Dustin! Thanks for the recommend. The idea of cats solving murders in sexy religious cults is INSANELY tempting!