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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Space Chimps (review)

If jokes about missing links and “the primate directive” are your idea of the height of wit… If monkeys in space suits but with bare hands and feet are your idea of the height of science fiction… If you haven’t gotten enough this year of terrible comedies ripping off jokes from the 30-year-old Airplane! (see also: The Love Guru)… then have I got a movie for you. (Oh, and never fear: this CGI kiddie horror show also includes the apparently requisite inappropriate sexual innuendo, too.) Three chimps — two museum exhibits meant to illustrate NASA’s glory days and one comic-relief sidekick — get shot through a wormhole, chasing after a missing deep-space probe that has landed on an alien world. Things could be worse, though, for the nice little aliens upon which the probe wreaks havoc: it could have been carrying a copy of this movie. It starts out merely a misbegotten mess, a churning cesspit of stupid puns, sight gags, and decades-out-of-date pop culture references, plus this: That sidekick character? He’s a circus chimp called Ham III, and if a chimp could be an asshole, he’d be it. (He’s voiced by Andy Samberg [Hot Rod]… coincidence?) And then it all turns terrifying, mostly thanks to an alien creature with a tiny baby’s body and a huge glowing head that screams constantly (the voice of Kristin Chenoweth [Running with Scissors], which usually is just fine): the thing is creepy and bizarre, and what’s worse, it’s meant to be cute and adorable. Fuck, I’m still having nightmares about it. And no, even Patrick Warburton (Get Smart), as the voice of one of the NASA chimps, is not enough to make this endurable. How I long for the depth of character and theme of “Pigs in Space.”


MPAA: rated G

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
  • Patti Heyes

    ” If monkeys in space suits but with bare hands and feet are your idea of the height of science fiction… ”

    That! That right there! After seeing the trailer yet again (with a second viewing of the wonderful “Wall-E”)I was scratching my head over that particular piece of nonsense. Thank you.

  • J.T.

    “…and if a chimp could be an asshole, he’d be it.”

    That’s the line you had me at! Excellent!

    Thanks for confirming my fears about this movie when I saw previews for it.

    And on a related side-note, I’m one of those people who do NOT think monkeys and/or chimps are “cute”. In fact, most of the time I find them rather creepy.

  • MaryAnn

    Certainly, much of what we do to our primate cousins is not at all cute. They are not little dolls to be dressed up in human clothes and made to dance for their keep, for one.

    If there’s one good thing that can be said about this movie, it’s this: At least it’s animated, and we didn’t have to see real chimps humiliated.

  • Ruben

    While blunt, I do concur with your review on this flop. After viewing the trailer on television, I knew instantly that this film was destined to fail, which is rare for me. Honestly, I believe that this D+ film was better suited as a direct-to-video release, as opposed to it being a theatrical release, and in the same weekend that “the Dark Knight” opened, too. What were they THINKING when they scheduled this film on the same relese date as the long-anticipated “Dark Knight”, which has been far more successful in it’s opening in the box office, grossing at over $18,000,000 on opening night. Even Kung Fu Panda (Jack Black) was more successful than this unimaginative, lackluster CG film.

  • MaryAnn

    While blunt,

    It sounds like you’re saying there’s something wrong with being blunt…

  • What were they THINKING when they scheduled this film on the same relese date as the long-anticipated “Dark Knight”

    It’s called counterprogramming. It’s the same reason that Mamma Mia! opened on the same day as The Dark Knight… people who are interested in one of those movies probably aren’t very interested in the other movie.

  • MaryAnn

    Of, that presumes that there was *anyone* interested in seeing *Space Chimps*…

  • Nelson Miles

    Sweetie, remember who this movie was made for. I’m afraid you weren’t part of the demo. I took two munchkins (4 and 6) and it was remarkably good baby-sitting. I was grateful for that and the little ones loved it.

  • amanohyo

    Sweetie, baby, darling, Nelson is right. You should have reviewed the movie from the perspective of a child aged 4-6 accompanied by their father. Colorful pictures, funny voices, animals in clothes, almost two hours of hands-free, anti-educational babysitting… what’s not to like?

    All this reviewing movies from your own perspective stuff has got to stop. It’s not enough to mention that you know it’s a kids’ movie in the review, or to make it clear that you believe the movie fails even as worthwhile entertainment for children, you have to become a child again.. in your mind. Once you master this technique, you’ll be amazed at how many fantastic movies are being made. You’ll also realize that Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers are the most amazing singers in the history of the universe.

  • MaryAnn

    I took two munchkins (4 and 6) and it was remarkably good baby-sitting.

    That borders on child abuse, methinks.

  • Ben

    I actually watched this film, and I agree with MA, it’s a load of ass. Given that we’ve already got two CGI masterpieces in the form of Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda, why would anyone want to see this shitfest?

    Andy Samberg is quickly settling into a pattern of producing one laugh a year.

  • Accounting Ninja

    “I actually watched this film, and I agree with MA, it’s a load of ass. Given that we’ve already got two CGI masterpieces in the form of Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda, why would anyone want to see this shitfest?”

    Thank you for my second hearty laugh today.

    As a lover of animated films, I used to relish every one that came out, because they were so few and far between (and because of that, they were usually really good!). But now it’s like there’s a glut of ’em, and some of them are starting to stink!

  • MaryAnn

    Wait till you see *Fly Me to the Moon.* It makes *Space Chimps* look like *Toy Story.*

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