Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser) has the world at his feet. The cartoonist has just had his strip, Monkeybone, made into a TV pilot with the promise of a series – and merchandising tie-ins. But Stu’s priority is to propose to his girlfriend Julie (Bridget Fonda). While trying to get home to pop the question properly, a bizarre car accident involving an inflatable prototype leaves him in a coma. He finds his mind has gone to Downtown, a place where nightmares are made. There he finds the 'real" Monkeybone (voiced by John Turrturo), a manic simian with an overactive libido. Meanwhile, time is running out for Stu in the real world – if he doesn’t revive, his life support will be turned off. The only way out of Downtown is with an exit pass; but Monkeybone has plans to use Stu to snaffle one for his own purposes.

Margaret Pomeranz

1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM

Brendan Fraser is not going to regard this as his finest moment on celluloid.

Brendan Fraser plays Stu, an LA cartoonist who`s just sold an animated series based on his libidinous character Monkeybone to cable television. He`s injured in an accident just before proposing to his doctor girlfriend Julie - Bridget Fonda. The comatose Stu - despite the best efforts of his sister to pull the plug - is jolted into the nightmare realm of Downtown where Monkeybone is alive and active. Monkeybone ultimately betrays his creator and returns to the land of the living in Stu`s body to create havoc and woo Julie.

Looking at this film you wonder just what the audience is for it - it`s got an M rating for the truly grotesque nature of some of its material - suitable only for the 15 pluses - and yet so much of the humour is puerile, aimed you would think at the under sevens. Director Henry Selick is a protege of Tim Burton and his provenance shows, but he lacks Burton`s talent to balance the macabre with art and eccentricity.

Brendan Fraser is not going to regard this as his finest moment on celluloid and neither is Bridget Fonda who`s only given bland to play. Monkeybone, voiced by John Turturro is a truly uncharismatic character. This is one of those expensive disasters that studios like Fox can only wring their hands about.

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1 hour 33 min