Date: July 18
Director: Kirk DeMicco
Writers: Kirk DeMicco, Rob Moreland
Cinematographer: Jericca Cleland
Starring: Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton, Kristin Chenoweth, Stanley Tucci
Time: Twentieth Century Fox, 81 mins.
When hearing the title "Space
Chimps," it’s hard not to envision the pitch meeting that made the film
happen. I figure it went something like
Nameless Executive 1:
I know what kids like these days—monkeys.
Nameless Executive 2:
You’re right!My nephew likes monkeys. I
hear they’re so hot right now.
And they’re always comedic gold.Now we
just need to add one more element. Robots?Pirates? Ninjas?Some sort of robotic
Producer Barry Sonnenfeld:
You know what worked for me in Men in
Sold!You over there, work up the
marketing deal with Taco Bell.Sonnenfeld,
you rig up the trailer and round up someone to direct the film.
PBS: What about the story?
Story? What do you mean, story? We already have the story:it’s monkeys in space.We’ll
figure out the specifics when the trailer comes in.Good work, everyone. Lattes for all!
Or, something. In any case, that’s the way the film feels.Andy Samberg stars as the obligatory
celebrity voice lead Ham III, a circus chimp who dreams of making his way into
space and following in footsteps of his grandfather Ham, the first chimp in space.When given the chance, though, he's reluctant, but still chosen for the adventure.Ham and his crew go through a wormhole,
land on a world being terrorized by a NASA space probe/incredibly-powerful war machine, and work to save the local population and return home.Along the way, Space Chimps is hampered by an unnecessary romantic side-plot,
phoned-in wacky hijinks and frankly obnoxious pop-culture references that do
little to differentiate it from any other family friendly CGI film of the past
The best that can be said for Space Chimps is that it’s utterly undistinguished.While the art style verges on Seussian at
moments, it always dials things back before becoming truly inspired by its
setting.Likewise, the voice acting is
passable, clearly a workmanlike effort from all involved to do an acceptable
job but nothing more.Space Chimps isn’t devoid of laughs, but
they’re same old, same old chuckles, and a lack of any character development or an
even vaguely believable plot keeps the writing from touching on anything below
the surface.At the end of the day, Space Chimps feels far more like a product
designed to appeal to children than a film meant to delight an audience, and
the difference between its slapdash effort and the love thrown into a Pixar
feature is palpable.