|Dammit, people! How many times do we have to tell all you filmmakers to frickin' commit to your cinematic vision? Don't water it down, but don't pump it full of steroids either. Just stick to it and make it consistent throughout the film. Pick a vision, get behind it and see it through, okay? Okay, we're putting the bullhorn down now.
People, people, people. We're not some evil tyrant trying to bully you (much). We just want you to avoid making any more movies like Monkeybone. Oy, Monkeybone, that mishmash of anvil-force symbolism and weak comedy: a textbook example of taking a vision with a lot of potential and turning it into an awkward, incomprehensible mess.
Oh, the plot's conceit wasn't bad. Maybe a little overdone, but not bad: a creative type attempts to reconcile his evolved ego with his imbecilic id within the landscape of his dreams and nightmares. Might be quite well done, if the treatment of this thesis were thought-provoking or adult. Which is why Monkeybone's PG-13 rating is just wrong.
What the hell were the producers thinking? Creeping Jesus, folks, we're talking about the id here! The first scenes of the movie are a Monkeybone cartoon detailing how a comic artist got his first boner watching his third-grade teacher's arm fat wobble! We're almost 30, and we're still not sure we should have watched that; how is an impressionable kid going to react?! (Actually, the few impressionable kids in our viewing audience reacted by complying with their parents as they were removed from the theater. They didn't seem too sorry to go.)
It doesn't help that the script is loaded with Freudian-by-way-of-Acme sexual symbology. Monkeybone first appears in the artist's life when he discovers the mercurial miracle of erectile tissue---get it? Monkey? Bone? Monkeybone! The artist, Brendan Fraser's character, is named Stu Miley; the little monogram patch on his jacket reads S. Miley-get it?! He's a happy, well-adjusted guy, so they name him Smiley! Deep!! A recurring character in his dreams is a woman-cat-sex-mo-sheen creature (aptly played by Rose McGowan) named Kitty---get it? Kitty, like cat, like...? GET IT??!!
We never thought we'd say this about a mainstream, PG-frickin-13 movie, but: And then there's the anal fixation. There's so much bunghole action going on, we had flashbacks to that awful European porn we once inadvertently rented (orifices you could drive a bus through...we had nightmares for days). Any time the Monkeybone character appears on screen, it's a given that an anal-centric gag will occur. And we know that goes hand-in-hand with Freud (the man could be quite an asshole), but a little bit of anus goes a long way. Especially in a PG-13 movie.
We think it says a lot about the overall ho-hum-huh?! nature of Monkeybone that the funniest part of the movie (it's supposed to be a comedy, remember) comes courtesy of Chris Kattan. Yes, you read that right. For the first time ever, we found ourselves laughing out loud at Chris Kattan. He stole the goddamn movie. Think about that.
Between the bad pacing, the tiresome direction and that creepy Disney-fied feeling, Monkeybone is something of a monument to the perils of bad vision-stewardship. We hope all you good little directors, writers and producers out there have learned a lesson or two. Now hold on a second and we'll undo your ropes.