Monkeybone Henry Selick

Monkeybone Henry Selick
"Monkeybone" is the story of a boy and his monkey, sort of a new twist on the whole boy and his dog theme. Well, actually, it's not, neither is it a story about a monkey and his bone (although the porn potential inherent in this title is evident to all), however, it is a story about a man and his figment (of imagination). Brendan Fraser, (whose breakthrough role was "Encino Man," no matter what "they" say, screw "George of the Jungle") plays Stu Miley, a thoroughly likeable cartoonist who is on the verge of reluctant, "Ren and Stimpy"-like fame (speaking of which, whatever happened to that guy?) with his cartoon creation, Monkeybone, basically the id gone horribly awry. He's married to Bridget Fonda (Julie McElroy), a doctor that cured him of his nightmares and inspired him to create Monkeybone. They are happy, blissful and in love, so you know it's all going to go straight to hell, and it does.

Stu is put into a coma, following a freak accident after a corporate meeting (which may or may not be a metaphor for selling out). So, where do people go when they are in comas? Well, the body either goes to the hospital or a basement (don't ask), but the unconsciousness goes to Downtown, which is basically limbo, but with a cooler name and plenty of mythological denizens, figments and creatures out of the cantina in "Star Wars." While there, Stu discovers that he is somewhat of a major celebrity, worshipped for the voracity of his nightmares, which the inhabitants of downtown eagerly watch, and meets his figment, Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro), who exists to ridicule and annoy Stu. He also meets the incredibly attractive (and recently single), Rose McGowan (Kitty), who is the cat's meow, and discovers that the only way to escape Downtown before his vacuous sister Kimmy (Megan Mullally) pulls the plug is to steal an "exit card" from Death, played by Whoppi Goldberg, who is almost as good as Alanis Morissette was as God ("Dogma"). But Monkeybone and the inhabitants of Downtown may have other plans for Stu and his body.

"Monkeybone" initially looks like it could very easily suck, as trailers seem just wacky without a context, but it doesn't. It's a good movie, flawed only by the fact that its plot, which centres on a "he's controlling my body, I have to get my body back" thread has been done to death. In fact, there have been, like, seven episodes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" with that plot alone. However, the acting is good, with a slimy David Foley (Stu's agent, Herb) stealing scenes, and the animation is gorgeous. Directed by Henry Selick ("A Nightmare Before Christmas"), stop-motion animation and live action are blended together seamlessly, with striking sets (gothically reminiscent of his "Christmas" work), strange creatures and Monkeybone all being utilised to their fullest. However, Fraser gives a Carrey-like performance that nearly upstages all the effects, making "Monkeybone" more than a one trick, um, monkey.