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Space Chimps (2008)

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Space Chimps | SPACE CHIMPS
SPACE CHIMPS

Details Release Date: Jul 18, 2008; Rated: G; Length: 81 Minutes; Genres: Animation, Comedy, Kids and Family; With: Andy Samberg; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

We could tell you that Space Chimps is a bleakly comic, Bergman-style family drama. But we'd be lying. ''It's monkeys in space!'' says director and co-writer Kirk De Micco. More specifically, this animated movie follows three chimpanzee astronauts named Ham III (Andy Samberg), Luna (Cheryl Hines), and Titan (Patrick Warburton) as they try to end the tyrannical rule of an evil alien (Jeff Daniels) on a distant planet. Far-fetched, you say? The plot is actually based in reality somewhat. In the movie, Ham III is a descendant of real-life chimpnaut Ham, who was shot into space in 1961. ''I've always loved The Right Stuff,'' says De Micco of the 1983 film about Chuck Yeager and America's early space program. ''In the film, Yeager says, 'You think a monkey knows he's sitting on top of a rocket that might explode?' I looked into Ham and did some research and I was like, What if they did know that?'' According to the director, the result features a good deal of ''Pythonesque silliness'' courtesy of Samberg, as well as some slightly broader comedy: ''There's a lot of stuff for kids, the kind of monkeys-falling-off-treadmills gags. You really can't have enough monkeys falling off treadmills.'' (July 18)

Originally posted Apr 21, 2008 Published in issue #988-989 Apr 25, 2008 Order article reprints