Starring: Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Ginger Rogers
Director: Howard Hawks
Running Time: 97 mins
Monkey Business is an American film about a brilliant chemist who creates a potion that makes people feel younger than they are, however various unexpected side effects soon cause mayhem for the chemist and his wife.
Well, although I didn’t find it particularly funny, there were some decent laughs in this film. However, the overall funniness is now sadly diminished by the fact that it is very dated, and while it tries hard to emulate some of the great screwballs that came before it, it just doesn’t feel at all like the classic comedies that remain funny today, and that was what disappointed me most here.
Effectively, this whole film is just too weak in the foundations of the script to be properly funny. Screwball comedies are meant to be a bit racy, whereas this not only seemed a bit formulaic, but adding in that magical note destroyed the illusion of a real situation that you’d expect to see in this sort of film, rendering the majority of its comedy much less effective.
Also, the performances aren’t that great. Ginger Rogers, whether she was in her adult persona or her child one, was just constantly irritating, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn were relatively strong in their more sensible and believable minor roles, while Cary Grant was a real disappointment.
It seems as if this film was just a little bit too low for a great like Grant to step into, and to see him try and save what is just too fluffy and unbelievable a script was just boring. Also, his character was just not weak enough for this film to be a proper screwball. Yes, his wife was much more domineering in the earlier stages, but you never get that real sense of who wears the trousers in the relationship because their characters change so much during the film.
In terms of the story, it’s also too fluffy. The magic potion idea was not credible enough in the situation, meaning it just annoyed me, while its consequences were beyond insufferable. They may have farcical and occasionally funny, but largely, a lot of this film was a bit annoying to watch, largely due to its very weak feel, and because of that, it gets a 6.5 from me.