Remember "Cool World" -- the animated/live-action disaster starring Kim Basinger and one misguided Brad Pitt? The horrible animation, the lousy acting, the unrelated scenes strung one after the other for no good reason. If you do, I apologize for bringing up a painful memory that I'm sure you've been trying to repress.
I also suggest not watching the first half of "Monkeybone" for fear of triggering "Cool World" flashbacks. "Monkeybone" is the story of a budding cartoonist (Brendan Fraser), his sleep-expert girlfriend (Bridget Fonda) and his profitable cartoon creation Monkeybone (voice of John Turturro), oh yeah and a corpse (Chris Kattan), Death (Whoopi Goldberg -- I always suspected) and Dave Foley (Dave Foley).
Fraser has an accident, goes into a coma, then struggles to emerge from his own twisted psyche. The plot is more emaciated than Calista Flockhart. But the peripherals are what put a little meat on the bone. While in a coma, Fraser meets Monkeybone, a monkey. He spends most of his screen time annoying his creator, and us as well, by cramming second-hand comedy down our windpipes until we can't breathe and need the Heimlich maneuver performed on us.
Two words -- JarJar and Binks. Together they manage to steal a pass to return to reality. Just when Fraser is about to cash in, Monkeybone bashes his creator over the head and escapes to the real world in Fraser's body.
The film spends an obscene amount of time in Coma World, the goal being to show off the largely animated sets for an hour. Monkeybone's escape into Fraser reality, in Fraser's body, is the beginning of a fairly enjoyable movie. Fonda becomes increasingly suspicious of her boyfriend's primate-like behavior. Monkeybone tries to give everyone bad dreams (this has to do with the first half of the movie and so I will not elaborate).
Meanwhile, Fraser works on a scheme to warn Fonda of who she's dreaming with. In a fit of unusual creativity, Kattan (creator of the "Saturday Night Live" Monkey Boy skit) was not cast as Monkeybone in human form. Instead he pulls off an excellent job impersonating Fraser in a borrowed dead body.
If not inspired, "Monkeybone" is at least entertaining, with some genuine hilarious moments. The beginning is merely a series of goofy images, but you won't want to miss Foley's eye-catching solution for his sudden allergy to clothes. And Brendan Fraser is charming in anything, "Air Heads" not withstanding.
The film even makes the tired corpse-whipping-his-own-organs-at-people gag seem fresh. Now, at the count of three, you'll forget that "Cool World" was ever mentioned, 1. . . 2 . . .
The Message: First half of "Monkeybone" bad, second half good.
RATING 2 1/2 STAR out of 4
Janet Bossard is a senior at Olean High School.