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Monkey Business
cast: Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Coburn, and Hugh Marlowe

director: Howard Hawks

92 minutes (U) 1952
20th Century Fox
Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection
DVD boxset Region 2 retail


RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Christopher Geary
A busy screwball comedy vehicle for Cary Grant, Howard Hawks' gently anarchic Monkey Business must have seemed like a great idea on paper but, sadly, its undeniably talented cast fail to bring the smartly constructed sitcom plot to life.
   As absent minded research chemist Professor Barnaby Fulton, the perpetually preoccupied Grant exudes only a fraction of his usual charm. When testing a new rejuvenation serum on himself, his supposed psychological regression to student years is forced and unconvincing. He drives like a maniac, gets a juvenile haircut and dresses like a damn fool - but it's all skating, diving, dancing and having too much fun, until the effect wears off and normal humdrum reality of prescription spectacles and respectable behaviour is restored. Ginger Rogers plays his doting wife Edwina, and she has very similar problems with the changes required of her characterisation after taking a dose of the fountain-of-youth drug, and overdoes the dancing and teenage sulking routines.
   Even more famous than Grant or Rogers, Marilyn Monroe plays secretary Lois, on the receiving end of Charles Coburn's classic line: "Find someone to type this." Munroe's most memorable scenes occur early in the film and, regrettably, she is sidelined after the escapades of Grant's first bout of childishness, until the climax of ridiculous slapstick that results from addition of the serum to a water cooler by a laboratory chimpanzee.
   This DVD is part of a boxset released to mark the 40th anniversay of Monroe's tragic death. The disc reviewed is in widescreen aspect ratio 2.25:1 digitally restorated and re-mastered. Extras: a brief side-by-side restoration comparison of original black and white print quality with the digital transfer, stills gallery, and a trailer.
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