Monkeybone (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Animation, Comedy, Fantasy  |  23 February 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 13,766 users   Metascore: 40/100
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In a coma, a cartoonist finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone.



(graphic novel "Dark Town"),
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Monkeybone (voice)
Herb (as David Foley)
Sandra Thigpen ...
Clarissa (as Amy D. Higgins)


In a coma, Stu Miley a cartoonist who created a comic strip called Monkeybone which features a rascal monkey. He finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone. Naturally, Monkeybone himself is there, and he and Stu quickly start fighting like cats and dogs. When Stu realizes that his sister, due to a pact they once made, is preparing to pull the plug on him, Stu makes a deal with Hypnos, the god of sleep, to help him steal a golden ticket from Death himself. But when Monkeybone takes over Stu's body and escapes to wreak havoc on the real world, Stu has to find a way to stop him before his sister pulls the plug on reality forever! Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bone 2 B Bad See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude humor and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 February 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Monkeybone Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,685,078 (USA) (23 February 2001)


$5,409,517 (USA) (20 April 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie makes allusion to many elements of Greek mythology: the Cyclops, the Minotaur, the Centaur, Medusa, Scorpion; and even Hypnos, the god of dreams. See more »


As Stu is transferred into his gymnast/organ donor body, when the doctors are pulling out organs, he stands up and startled the doctors. Just then, there is a boom mice visible about the doctors. See more »


[Stu goes into a phone booth to call the authorities and report the car crash, unaware that a large red pipe loosened by the crash is starting to tilt over towards the booth]
Julie: [sees the pipe start to move] Stu!
[Stu turns around a waves to her, then turns back to the phone as the pipe starts to fall]
Julie: [screams] STU!
[Stu waves at her again, and the pipe falls on the booth, putting Stu in a coma]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Lisa Zane is listed in the opening credits, however due to editing her entire time on screen is only about 20 seconds. See more »


References The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988) See more »


I Wanna Be Loved by You
Written by Bert Kalmar, Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby
Performed by John Turturro
See more »

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User Reviews

For Lots of Laughs (Go Somewhere Else)
18 July 2001 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

The Fantasy genre is pretty much wide open, which allows a filmmaker to take an audience where he will, without the constraint of parameters of realism or any significant frames of reference. It's a kind of create-as-you-go market, and it's hard to go wrong, especially with the special effects and technology available today. Mixing fantasy and comedy, however, is a whole different thing, and even in the abstract it is bound to wind up in a very subjective arena, and to be successful it must be created and presented with great care, vision and an innate sense of what works by the filmmaker. `Monkeybone,' directed by Henry Selick and written by Sam Hamm is-- well-- none of those things, which is unfortunate for everyone involved with the project, but mostly for the unsuspecting audience upon which it is sprung.

The movie begins with a short `Monkeybone' cartoon, a pilot created from a popular comic strip written by Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser), which has just been picked up by Comedy Central and contracted for a number of episodes. The cartoon depicts the origins of Monkeybone himself, and the appeal is purely infantile (and that's being kind). After the premiere of this animated masterpiece, Stu attends the promo party with his girlfriend, Dr. Julie McElroy (Bridget Fonda), who is indirectly responsible for the existence of Monkeybone in the first place. Stu had suffered from a sleep disorder due to nightmares since he could remember, and it was Dr. Julie who turned his life around, treating him at the sleep clinic into which he checked himself when he finally couldn't take it anymore. At that point in his life, Stu's cartoons ranged from the gruesome to the downright disturbed-- all extensions of his nightmares; then Julie suggested drawing with his left hand instead of his right, and the result was the emergence of Monkeybone, who apparently is supposed to be the flip side of his nightmares. Which may be true for Stu, but not necessarily for the audience.

Monkeybone himself (with voice provided by John Turturro sounding like he's been inhaling helium), is-- far from being funny, cute or endearing in any way, shape or form-- an annoying little spud who grates on the senses from the moment he appears on screen, which beyond the opening cartoon, begins with Stu's descent into `Down Town,' the land of nightmares residing within his own mind into which he slips when a freak accident puts him in a coma. It's a freakish place, a kind of demented `Toon Town,' populated by (besides the ever-present and irritating Monkeybone) such illustrious nightmare mongers as Edgar Allan Poe, Jack the Ripper, Lizzy Borden, Attila the Hun and Stephen King (yes, the real King, in a cameo appearance). The crux of Stu's problem is that he has to get his hands on an `Exit Pass,' in order to defy Death (Whoopi Goldberg), and make his escape back into the land of the living.

Brendan Fraser has to be given credit for not being afraid to take on challenging (some would say questionable) roles; from the comic antics of `George of the Jungle,' to the comedy/drama of `With Honors,' to the action-packed `Mummy' films that have been so successful. Overall, he's made a career out of taking chances and ferreting out parts that have quite effectively showcased his versatility and talent as an actor. And it's easy to understand why this vehicle would've appealed to him. On paper, at least, it probably looked like it would work; and Stu, as written, probably seemed like a character that would give him another opportunity to spread his wings and show some range. Unfortunately, it's a long, long journey from script to screen, as they say. And even an Oscar worthy performance in this case (and it wasn't) couldn't have saved the day. The best that can be said is that Fraser did as well as anyone could have with the material he was given.

As for Bridget Fonda, one has to ask how an actor of her caliber gets caught up in such a thankless, generic role as this, which served the story as little more than fancy window dressing. Fonda is simply too good and too deserving of better than to wind up in a part as forgettable as this. But then again, it may have looked good on paper. We'll call it that.

The supporting cast includes Chris Kattan (Organ Donor Stu), Giancarlo Esposito (Hypnos), Rose McGowan (Kitty), Dave Foley (Herb), Megan Mullally (Kimmy) and Lisa Zane (Medusa). Sometimes it's fun to just relax and watch a movie that doesn't require much effort or thought and just lets you roll with the flow, but `Monkeybone' isn't one of them. This is the one that never should have made it past the first draft of the screenplay, and Fraser and Fonda should invest in some white-out to try and expunge this from their respective filmographies. There's magic in the movies, but not when the wires are exposed and you can see the trap door in the stage. So file this one under `Sorry-- but try again,' and we can all move on to bigger, better and happier times. I rate this one 1/10.

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