What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monkey Trouble is a low-budget 1994 comedy with plenty of potty humor. A monkey urinates on a floor, passes gas, and closes a toilet seat because of the smell. Some iffy behavior -- sneaking out against parents' wishes -- receives mild consequences, and the main character is mischievous and bratty. Scenes where Harvey Keitel -- who plays a drunken transient -- pursues a young girl might be a little scary for younger viewers.
What's the story?
Azro (Harvey Keitel) has a pet monkey. Together, they go up and down the Venice Beach boardwalk, where the monkey performs tricks for spare change. Azro has also trained his monkey to be an expert pickpocketer. When the hat is passed around for spare change, the monkey steals wallets, watches, and jewelry. This catches the attention of two mafia henchmen, who want Azro and his monkey to break into people's houses. But when the monkey escapes and takes up residence in a home where a little girl named Eva (Thora Birch) lives, Eva names the monkey "Dodger," and believes she has found a new friend to play with since her mother and stepfather are seemingly too engrossed in caring for Eva's baby brother. As Azro desperately tries to get the monkey back, Eva concocts a scheme to sneak out of the house for the weekend and make some money off her talented monkey. But she gets more than she bargained for when she learns that her new pet is also a kleptomaniac. Eva must train the monkey to stop stealing, while also avoiding the pursuit of the unpleasant Azro.
Is it any good?
While perhaps there's something of a kitsch factor in a movie where a very young Thora Birch plays a mischievous and slightly bratty little girl, and Harvey Keitel plays a grizzled street performer, MONKEY TROUBLE is more trouble than its worth. With a kleptomaniac monkey, some serious overacting (from Birch in particular), a predictable story, and low-brow humor (which should come as no surprise, seeing how a monkey is billed as the "star" of the movie), this movie really doesn't have much to offer.
While animal lovers and fans of animal movies might enjoy some of the monkey's tricks, the fact that the monkey basically robs people blind and finds a lot of humor in urination and flatulence is enough to turn off lots of folks over the age of 12. And for parents, the way Birch's character figures out a way to sneak out of the house for an entire weekend by lying about where she's going might inspire some terrible ideas for kids.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about movies where animals are prominently featured. How does this compare? Why are so many movies about animals?
Do the monkey's talents and abilities seem realistic to you?
What were the consequences for Eva sneaking out? What would happen to you if you disobeyed your parents' rules like that?