Space Chimps is rated G, but what for? Suggesting a preschool version of Gravity’s Rainbow, only one that’s actually possible to get through, this sometimes-spirited CGI trifle concerns the efforts of a space agency to send a group of chimps through an intergalactic wormhole in order to retrieve a wayward space probe that has landed on a strange planet where an alien known as Zartog (Jeff Daniels) is using it as a means of exerting control over his ugly-as-shit kind. The great joke of the film is the way the satellite extols our human achievements to the Malgorians but how Zartog is inspired to build a ginormous edifice in homage not to the Eiffel Tower but to a Vegas hotel casino. Arriving in Malgor, Titan (Patrick Warburton) is held captive by Zartog while Luna (Cheryl Hines) and Ham (Andy Samberg), the reckless-but-not-for-long playboy, err, playchimp grandson of the first monkey blasted into outer space, are essentially subjected to a series of Pynchonian nightmare scenarios that include traveling through the Valley of Very Bad Things, the Cave of the Flesh-Devouring Beast and the Dark Cloud of Id. Chimp-related puns and maxims naturally abound, as do references to such unchildlike things as rhetorical questions and NFL expansion teams, and delivered at a clip that’s alternately lively and insecure. Favorite WTF moment: How “not being David Bowie” is considered a qualification of astronaut-dom. Favorite character: Kristin Chenoweth’s Kilowatt, short for you don’t want to know—a thingamabob whose bulbous head lights up when she’s nervous and who hilariously belts out a dragged-out, operatic Jo Anne Worley-ish squeal at random. Funny stuff, but Space Chimps feels impatient—drawn and edited as if the filmmakers were dying for the credits to roll, almost as if it were intended to serve only as a promotional launch pad for a cross-platform video game.
- Kirk De Micco
- Kirk De Micco, Robert Moreland
- Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton, Omid Abtahi, Jeff Daniels, Patrick Breen, Kenan Thompson, Carlos Alazraqui, Kristin Chenoweth, Kath Soucie, Stanley Tucci, Jane Lynch, Zach Shada
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