Monday, April 28, 2008

Monkey Business

To be honest, I was not expecting this movie to be good. I’m typically a little leery of movies that feature actual monkeys, but Cary Grant was in it, so I figured something good had to come out of it. Turns out it’s fabulous!

The story centers around Dr. Barnaby Fulton played by Cary Grant and his wife, Edwina, played by Ginger Rogers. Barnaby is a chemist in the process of creating a magic potion that will make everyone young again and Edwina is his obedient wife who selflessly supports him at the expense of all her wants and needs. Despite the fact that Marilyn Monroe’s picture is plastered all over the case and DVD, she only plays Barbaby’s boss’s completely idiotic secretary ... barely a supporting part, but whatever. Her random one-liners are hilarious.

Anyway, Barnaby has begun to test his magic potion on monkeys who are caged in his lab. One night when the lab is empty, one of the apparently brilliant monkeys breaks out of her cage and begins mixing her own version of the potion. I was shocked at how well trained this monkey was. Then, for some inexplicable reason, she takes her potion and dumps it into the water cooler. Needless to say, insanity ensues when pretty much everyone takes a drink from the water cooler of youth and, depending on how much they drank, goes back to a different stage in their lives. Apparently they were all completely insane in their younger years.

The movie was made in 1952 when Cary Grant was mostly playing the classy, debonair type, but in this film he goes back to his slapstick comedy days. He and Ginger were completely hilarious especially when they drink a few cups of coffee made with water from the water cooler of youth, and turn into ten-year-olds who wreak havoc on everyone they come into contact with.

Watching it reminded me of my absolute favorite movie what was ever featured on Mystery Science Theater, The Leech Woman, about a woman desperate enough to be young again that she kills pretty much every man she sees. That one has darker theme, obviously ... and no monkeys, but the main idea is still there. Plus, the woman in it ends up looking like a monkey, so that’s something.

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