Reviewed 2001-09-08: The story is about cartoonist Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser), who has created a hit comic strip featuring the rascally Monkeybone (voice of John Turturro). Stu is happy, in love with his beautiful girlfriend Bridget Fonda), and is on the verge of big success with Monkeybone -- though he'd just as soon not be that successful. On the night Stu is to propose to Julie, a freak accident lands him in a coma. His spirit is transported to Downtown, a purgatory-like limbo situated between life and death, with a carnival landscape populated by creatures who revel in the nightmares of the living. Just as things seem like they couldn't get any worse, Monkeybone hatches a plot to take over Stu's body just before the plug is pulled. With help from the curvaceous Kitty (Rose McGowan), Stu must outwit Death (Whoopi Goldberg), return to the world of the living in a borrowed body (Chris Kattan of "Saturday Night Live"), retrieve his own body, and thwart Monkeybone's plans.
This was not a bad film, but it seemed disjointed, uneven and largely directionless -- it just wasn't funny most of the time. I found myself lusting after Rose McGowan. (There's just something about a woman in a cat costume!) But Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Kattan were under-utilized, as was Bridget Fonda. As for the main character, I think he just didn't live up to his potential in Monkeybone -- and I say that while at the same time acknowledging the admirable comedic skills of Brendan Fraser.
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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance reviewer.