Monkeybone: Peter Iovino
EW Staff
February 13, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Monkeybone

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
87 minutes
Wide Release Date
02/23/01
performer
Bridget Fonda, Brendan Fraser, Dave Foley, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Kattan, Rose McGowan, Megan Mullally
director
Henry Selick
Producers
20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Twitching Image Studio
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Sam Hamm
genre
Animation, Sci-fi and Fantasy, Comedy

We gave it a B+

When Selick and Hamm were drafting the story of a comic artist who suffers a blow to the head and enters a netherworld dominated by his primate creation, Ben Stiller was in talks to star. But Stiller was just coming off ”There’s Something About Mary,” and, recalls Selick, ”every week he was feeling a little more powerful…. He wanted to bring on his own writer, and that was a little hard for me.” (A rep for Stiller says that while the actor did feel ”the script needed some work,” he never suggested using his own writer — ”it never got that far.”)

Ultimately, talks stalled, and Stiller opted for ”Mystery Men.” The director then tapped Fraser for a shoot that began in November ’99, just after the actor’s star rose in ”The Mummy.” Fraser’s character, whom Selick calls ”kind of a Matt Groening before ‘The Simpsons,”’ tries to escape purgatory and rejoin his girlfriend (Fonda) by vanquishing Death (Goldberg) and the obnoxious Monkeybone (a stop motion puppet voiced by John Turturro). ”SNL” trouper Kattan plays a reanimated dead gymnast with a broken neck. ”The hardest part,” he reports, ”is getting the head to flop without your muscles kicking in and going ‘Ow! That’s gonna hurt!”’

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