What a horrible movie. Advertisements compare Monkeybone to The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, but the only thing these movie really share is director Henry Selick. What is missing is thought, imagination, and Tim Burton. What is left is vapid, lowbrow, and uninteresting. Within the first couple minutes, a cartoon of the title character establishes the standard for the movie; toilet humor. There is too much time spent on watching Brendan Fraser act like a jackass, and not enough time spent on the amazing stop-motion animation that brings Monkeybone to life. Monkeybone was originally a graphic novel called Dark Town by Kaja Blackey, and comic book adapter extraordinaire Sam Hamm (Batman, Fantastic Four) handles the writing chores for the movie.

Where the other two movies had no live action, Monkeybone is a mix, and this helps to derail it. Monkeybone only appears sporadically, and then only in Downtown, a strange, carnival-like purgatory where people in comas go. There are all sorts of strange creatures and devices there, and many are visually creative. Only some are stop-motion, others look computer generated or just like costumes. There are actually three types of media here; Downtown, the real world, and cartoons. Monkeybone is the creation of comic Stu Miley (Fraser, Bedazzled, Dudley Do-Right). His jacket says "SMILEY." Get it? Funny? NO. Just as his creation is beginning to take off in popularity and he is about to propose to his girlfriend Julie (Bridget Fonda, Lake Placid, A Simple Plan), he falls into a coma and ends up in Downtown. Here, Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro, Company Man, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) is real and interacts with Stu for the first time.

They team up and find a way for Stu to return to the real world, but when the opportunity arises, Monkeybone steals it, trapping Stu in Downtown. Now, Monkeybone is in the real world in Stu's body, and nobody is the wiser. Here, Fraser does what he seems to gravitate towards; physical comedy. With each additional comedy he does, he becomes more unwatchable. Was this really the same guy in Gods and Monsters? He acts like a monkey, because, hey, he's really a monkey! Not only that, he's a horny monkey. Most of the time, Stu/Monkeybone is lusting after Julie or working on the real reason he came to the real world. His plan is yet another poor attempt at potty humor. Every time that Hamm and Selick have a chance to add some wit, they take the easy road and low-ball a joke. There is nothing funny about Dave Foley naked or a plush monkey that farts. Just to make things worse, Chris Kattan (House on Haunted Hill, Lucky Numbers) stops in. Who exactly he is and what he does is best left unsaid, but is pretty much in line with the rest of Monkeybone.

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 27 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude humor and some nudity.

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