Monkey Up

Monkey Up is a movie I never planned on reviewing. I never planned on even knowing it existed. I could have gone my entire life and most likely I never would have heard about it in any situation. No one I know would have seen it, and know one I would meet in ten years would have seen it. It would have faded into obscurity.

However, extreme storms happened in the Houston area and it was suddenly rushed from the depths into my view. Streets were flooded, so I found myself unable to make it to the movie theater to see a screening of another film. So I had to literally drive myself back home, many hours early, suddenly finding myself needing to entertain kids.

So I turned to Netflix, like many a person under 40, and specifically set out to look for a shitty unheard of recent family movie. And there were a lot of great contenders. I wrote down some names, so maybe a few more of them will be coming your way soon. But eventually I found Monkey Up (my second choice, as my first one was a sequel, and I wasn’t ready for a series (or serious) commitment).

It was by Air Bud Entertainment, which I learned was a thing. Which makes sense, after all those films, and of course, the “Buddies” shit films.

No, this isn’t MVP and Dunston is not checking in.

Monty The Monkey (Crystal the Monkey) is a real, talking monkey in this world (voiced by Skylar Astin, technically the most famous person in this movie). He can speak English and everything, so you’d think he’d be everywhere. But nope, he is instead just the spokesman for Monkey Up, a banana flavored energy drink, which I would love to try.

His manager is Dessy (David Milchard) who first discovered him doing Shakespeare at the park. He isn’t too great at his job, since he cannot get Monty into serious roles, just shitty commercials for some quick fat cash. But the director (Chris Coppola) and owner of Monkey Up is a dick, so Monty is getting tired of it all. In fact, he heard about a famous director, Angelino Cappello (Danny Woodburn), making a film with a monkey as a lead, but he is doing it all with CGI! Oh no!

And yeah, Monty can’t convince him that he is a serious monkey actor ready for the big leagues. So he runs away and ends up in a giant doll house. That ends up in the room of Sophie (Kayden Magnuson), a present from her mom (Erin Allin O’Reilly) and dad (Jonathan Mangum) because they forgot her late after gymnastics. Also apparently everyone left the gymnastics place, fine with an elementary school girl by herself for like, many hours.

Sophie originally keeps him a secret, but then her brother (Caleb Burgess) finds out. Then the dad. Then eventually the mom. Monty decides that he wants to give this “family” thign a shot, to build up his potential as an actor to do more serious roles. He helps the brother learn Romeo and Juliet to impress a girl (Yasmeene Ball), the sister to do better at gymnastics, the dad to write his book, and of course in general do house hold chores and stuff.

By the end, Monty will learn what family really means. He will be able to reconnect with his own monkey family and maybe get out of these damn commercials. Also starring Jessi Cruickshank as an entertainment reporter, Christina Sicoli as an assistant, and John Ratzenberger as Sophie’s grandfather.


Seeing Crystal the Monkey in anything is very distracting. For whatever reason, almost everything makes her a male monkey. But I when I see Crystal, the first thing I think about is Annie’s Boobs. No, I’m not being weird and fantasizing about Alison Brie on a family film review. I mean the monkey on Community named Annie’s Boobs. That was my first Crystal role, even before The Hangover Part II and the Night at the Museum movies.

That’s enough monkey talk. This is a pointless movie. The story itself is one that has been told dozens of times in family films that it is almost painful to sit through. Outsider joins a family in turmoil, fixes things up, learns to be a better person, and stays with that family. Yawn, snore, writers need to try and be more original.

But they are original! This outsider is a monkey who can talk! With his own monkey issues with a similar talking family, that wears tiny monkey clothes at the zoo, and everyone is just cool with it. It is so awkward.

Overall the film can only be described as boring. I started to distract myself with cleaning and mindless walking around to get me through it. It isn’t badly filmed, or even terrible acting. It is just so mentally uninspired that it felt like torture to watch.

And here is the thing that pissed me off the most. The bad guy didn’t even get punished. To make everyone happy, he got a ridiculously amazing pay day. A stupidly large sum, that apparently the family could totally live without, because they are already rich and no biggie. And the bad guy gets money. Money and some monkey shit thrown at him, but who cares when he goes back home to start buying amazing new furniture.

0 out of 4.

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