Friday, August 5, 2011

Monkeys, Go Home! - A Disney film review by Robert Steven Mack

Many of us know Dean Jones to be Jim Douglas in the "Love Bug" movies, or the highly allergic F.B.I agent from "That Darn Cat." When I find an actor like Dean Jones who is known for one thing but did so much more, I often wonder what else that actor did; which is why I was very excited to see "Monkeys, Go Home!"

"Monkeys Go, Home!" takes places in a small, somewhat quaint little French town where gossip and politics rule, and the "No Visitors allowed" unwelcoming committee -figuratively speaking - ensures peace and tranquility. American Hank Dussard (Dean Jones) is unhappingstancily the target of the latter when he moves to the town after he inherits an olive farm. Hank, after learning the specified requirements for the olive pickers he needs, brings to that town four female chimpanzees whose fingers are ideal for the task Hank has assigned for them: to pick olives. This angers the citizens and also causes numerous scandals, uproars, and misadventures while Hank tries to gain the confidence of the town's people with the aid of the wise Father Sylvain and the attractive neighbor down the street, Maria.

Both, the plot and the title sound arguably rather cliche-like like your typical Disney animal movie. However, I am sure that many of you are openly familiar with the saying " Don't judge a book by its cover," or its title or the plot summary given on the back in this case. The film itself turned out to be one of the wittiest, smartest, most politically and socially challenging and provocatively intriguing examples of cinema I have ever encountered! Starring Maurice Chevalier in his final film role, Dean Jones, and Yvette Mimieux and directed by Andrew McLagen -who by the way is not a Disney/family movie regular - this film lax producing content that takes itself a little too seriously which in turn makes up much of the films realistic and surrealistic humour, is a must see. This movie brings up such subjects like: labor laws, communism vs. capitalism, the Cold War, and a newcomer trying to make his way into an ignorant and unwelcoming closed-up society. For the younger children who watch this film, I do not doubt that the main focus will be the monkeys whose mischievous antics are cute as well as befuzzeling and just enough to keep the movie wrapped in good clean spirits for the inner layer of a black comedy filled with social criticism. The film represents weird and refreshing while strangely intriguing mix of Disney animal cuteness, light romantic humour, and the aforementioned social commentary of the Sixties.

Though perhaps not a real classic due to the plot material being a product much of that time, this film is funny, cute, smart, and witty. It is a true Disney classic!

Copyright 2011 by Robert Steven Mack (all rights reserved!)

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