Monkey Business (DVD, 2005, Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection; Sensormatic) Reviews
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Monkey Business (DVD, 2005, Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection; Sensormatic)

4 ratings (3 Epinions reviews)
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Monkey Business (1952)

Apr 15, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:cast, direction, humor, script

Cons:story is sometimes thin

There was great suspense at the 1953 Academy Awards. Who would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Chimpanzee? There were many close-ups of the faces of the nominees: Cheetah, from "Tarzan's Savage Fury". Esther, from "Monkey Business". Bonzo, from "Bonzo Goes to College". Thunderous applause rocked the auditorium when the winner's name, Esther, was announced. At only six months, Esther was the youngest chimp to be so honored.

Esther gave a very moving acceptance speech. After much hooting and screeching, she described the discrimination she had overcome: not being allowed to join the Academy, not getting listed in the credits, even being imprisoned in a small metal cage, against her will. And her trainer had taken her entire paycheck!

This is a silly way to begin a film review. But it is appropriate, for "Monkey Business" is a very silly movie. One of several screwball comedies directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant, "Monkey Business" is often hilarious.

The plot has Grant cast as a middle-aged, fuddy-duddy chemist. He's working on a 'fountain of youth' serum at a private research center headed by Charles Coburn. His wife (Ginger Rogers) is devoted to him despite his absent-mindedness.

At the lab, a chimp escapes from a cage and re-mixes Grant's formula, getting it into the water cooler. Grant and Rogers unwittingly drink the formula and regress into their youth, getting into endless ridiculous situations. My favorite scene has Grant pretending he is an Indian brave, and leading a scalping party for Grant's hapless rival (Hugh Marlowe).

Also present is Marilyn Monroe, cast as Coburn's voluptuous, dim-bulb secretary. Monroe and Coburn have a famous dialogue that runs something like this:

Coburn: You'd better get somebody to type this.
Monroe: Oh, Mr. Oxley, can't I try again?
Coburn: No, this is important.
(Monroe walks out of the room, with Coburn gaping at her)
Coburn: Anybody can type.

Screwball comedies, where the plot consists of a series of connected gags, are very difficult to pull off. The gags have to be funny, they have to fit the characters, and they have to make sense within the framework of the story. Unpredictability and imagination is required. The screwball comedy is something of a lost art. Recent attempts tend to resort to bathroom humor and pandering to the youngest audience. (85/100)



Recommend this product? Yes


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