My daughter put "Monkey Trouble" in the VCR and after I heard her laughing her head off I decided to sit down and see what was so funny. What a surprise! It was funny & fun with just the right touch of adventure and pathos to make an excellent family experience.
Thora Birch plays Eva, the little girl who finds a monkey named Dodgers (played by Finster) trained by a drunken gypsy (Harvey Keitel) to steal watches, wallets, earrings, cash and anything else he could get his little fingers on. Eva's step-dad, allergic to animal hair, won't let Eva have a pet. So, when Eva sneaks Dodger into her room she becomes a very responsible little girl indeed, even cleaning up her bedroom and doing her homework. Quite a feat for a ten year old! But Fingers, continues his pick pocketing and theft, hiding the loot in Eva's art box. Finster himself hides under Eva's bed whenever anyone enters her room. So much for the basic plot, within which a child's humor, innocence, emotion, problems of growing up, and adventurous spirit is played.
Thora Birch has a much wider range of expression and sentiment in her acting than the Olsen twins (who we love to watch as a family too). Thora has an all-American look with just a few freckles and reminds me of the "kid next door". The camera catches her perfectly. Especially attractive was the lighting which made her somewhat golden hair into a sort of halo of light. She is very human and a very good actress. Dodger the monkey played a role that perfectly complimented the performance of Eva. My bet is they really loved one another and had a great time on the set together. Is it my imagination or are monkeys and children smarter, more expressive and better actors than most humans?
My daughter laughed and cried throughout the movie and declared it "Great"! It even tickled a demanding old grump like myself who generally would rather do anything but watch a PG rated movie. It made me nostalgic for my own childhood. As a parent I give it a "ten" and highly recommend it for its humor and warmth.
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