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Parents' Guide to

Monkey Business (1952)

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Screwball classic is still funny but shows its age.

Movie NR 1952 97 minutes
Monkey Business (1952) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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MONKEY BUSINESS has everything going for it: a fantastic cast, a stellar director, plus monkeys! Unfortunately it doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts. It could be that the early scenes establishing the comfortable, middle-aged relationship between Barnaby and Edwina are a little too comfortable and last a little too long. It's almost certainly in part because modern audiences won't find a chimpanzee performing human tasks funny in itself: We've learned too much about chimpanzees since then to find absurd humor in having a chimp pour liquid from one container into another.

Kids will have a hard time relating to the premise about older people wanting to be young again, and though might be briefly entertained by the chimpanzee shenanigans, there's not much else for them to especially appreciate here. Those obsessed with "old Hollywood" will enjoy seeing Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers together. They seem to be having fun, and in middle age are still great with the physical stuff. But the supporting cast is weak (except for Marilyn Monroe, who of course sparkles while playing it straight) and the writing's a little flat in that it seldom zeroes in on what's really funny. If you're looking for real laughs, stick with Bringing Up Baby.

Movie Details

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