Monkeybone | Chicago Reader


You can almost see money dripping off the walls of the sets and cybersets in this special-effects extravaganza. Mild-mannered cartoonist Brendan Fraser is about to propose to Bridget Fonda, a sleep-research doctor who's helped him sublimate his bad dreams into art, when he falls into a coma. He's in split-level limbo: there's a dead zone, where Whoopi Goldberg commands an army of grim reapers, and a realm of the unconscious, where satyr Giancarlo Esposito lords it over the souls of the comatose and other sleepers. It's here that Fraser meets up with the creation that's led to his success—a leering, pelvis-grinding monkey that's also his runaway id. The scenes set on earth—messy, predictable satire about the commercial exploitation of fevered genius—don't do much with their self-reflexivity except suggest that writer Sam Hamm (Batman) and director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) identify with the character. If the unconscious/underworld scenes seem boring, it's because neosurrealism is a cliche. Based on the graphic novel Dark Town by Kaja Blackley and Vanessa Chong; with Chris Kattan and the voice of John Turturro. 87 min.


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