This is a perfect example of what can happen to a film when it changes direction. While I'm not familiar with the original graphic novel, I understand it to be a much darker story than this dumbed-down, mass-marketed PG13 collection of junior high humor.

Stu Miley (whose name always triggers the thought "S. Miley... Smiley" in my head) is a cartoonist, whose creation Monkeybone is starting to see some commercial success. Monkeybone is really an aspect of Stu's creativity, an outlet for some of his primitive behaviors, and not surprisingly, would appeal most to the same junior highschoolers that appear to be the target audience of this film.

While his girlfriend frets over his condition and his sister (a hystrionic Megan Mullaly) plots to have his plug pulled, Stu is engulfed in a nightmarish, cartoony sort of dream world. Here, the Monkeybone side of his personality takes life and becomes an even greater nuisance than in Stu's own cartoons.

What Monkeybone wants, however, is to go back alone into the real world and take it over, in his own illogical, twisted view on things. There is much cartoonish chasing around, first in the coma-world, and later in the "real world" (it is, after all, still a movie) where Monkeybone has taken over Stu's body and somehow Stu gets to take over the corpse of an organ donor.

The humor, while funny at times, is purely outrageous and presented in a very low brow manner. The plot doesn't stand a chance against the frantic animation and unrealistic personalities that populate this film. The animation is well executed, but like any element of craft, it must be there first, not for its own merits, but to illuminate the story or the characters somehow.

Consider that, if the original dark intentions were allowed through, we'd have a chance to get to know the characters, to actually feel something about the consequences of what is happening. There is no subtlety left, other than the occasional random detail put in by the animators, to squeeze out of the film for our enjoyment. Avoid.

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