Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Another negative review of Space Chimps.

This one's from this guy:

Who was apparently doing a...


Which he gave...

So enjoy the review (or don't).



SOME men are called to greatness. I, on Monday afternoon, was called to "Space Chimps." And at times, sitting in an air- conditioned screening room for 80 minutes - so you don't have to - seemeda heroic sacrifice on par with lung donation.

I went in expecting to be disappointed, but even so, I was disappointed. "Space Chimps," a digitally animated feature that gives every indication of having been written and drawn by its titular characters, is unfunny. But it isn't just that; it's also weird, with some rattling moments of crudeness. Try explaining to a prosecutorial 4-year-old why one monkey says to another, "Is that a banana in your pocket?"

Other awkward allusions include one to the drug humor in the 28-year-old movie "Airplane!" ("looks like I picked the wrong week to stop eating bananas") and an almost funny but bizarre nod to David Bowie's spaceman period, which was so long ago that Andy Samberg, who voices the lead monkey, wasn't yet born.

Samberg, who is establishing a track record of delivering about one laugh per year, is a circus chimp who gets blasted out of cannons and into the night sky. "Space Chimps" is touching for about 48 frames, when his character, Ham, reaches wistfully out for the moon. He was made for better things.

His grandfather was the first US monkey in space, which makes Ham III the perfect choice to be sent on a mission with a scientist chimpette (Cheryl Hines) and a dimwitted chimp commander (Patrick Warburton) to recover a lost spaceship that disappeared in a far corner of the universe.

While the chimps do weak parodies of the training scenes from "The Right Stuff"- no twists are added, just re-enactments that count on you to giggle because they're done by chimps - we cut to a distant planet, where the lost ship has landed among an alien race.

The animation, previously drab and cheap-looking, now becomes actively ugly, a visual litter box. The aliens are a herd of gopher-like figures with shiny skin who stand around being terrified of their leader, a dictatorial beast (Jeff Daniels) who looks like a bull on his hind legs. He is using the new spaceship from Earth to advance his powers.

When the space chimps arrive, they get advice in defeating this despot from a little freak, voiced by Kristin Chenoweth, who looks like a midget with a baby's head the size of a medicine ball. You're unlikely to see a toy modeled after this character unless they sell Happy Meals in hell.

The chimps toss around little puns ("I'm just a chimp off the old block," "No monkey business," etc.) while commenting on how lame they are. This touch of screenwriting self-hatred is refreshingly honest, but when your jokes are this crusty, why not discard them and start over? Besides, when it comes to chimps and space, Stanley Kubrick pretty much covered the topic.

Running time: 81 minutes. Rated G.

Opposable thumbs down.


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