Thursday, May 10, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 12 - GOING APE! (1981)

- Rated PG for some rude humor, language. and for peril. 
- Starring Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Jessica Walter, Stacy Nelkin
- Written and Directed by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg
- Running time: 1hr 27min

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)

You know, I've wanted to see this for the longest time.  I don't know what it is, but I am drawn to bad movies.  If a movie looks God awful, then I HAVE to see it!  My brother and I even have a Christmas tradition to give each other bad movie posters each year.  And last Holiday season, I recieved a GOING APE poster.  I was thrilled!  Well, now I have finally seen it!  Tony Danza!  Danny DeVito!  And 3 Orangutans!  What could possibly go wrong?  That seems like a movie that every studio in Hollywood would be fighting over, right? 

Danza plays the son of a circus owner, who just died.  His father leaves him 5 million dollars, but only if he successfully takes care of 3 apes in his city Apartment.  Oh yeah, and he also gives him bizarre tightrope walker DeVito to live with.  Also, there are some people who want that 5 million so they hire Italian mobsters to kill the monkeys so Danza won't get the money.  And there is also a romantic interest for Danza who doesn't approve of the apes in his home.

This movie is BAD!  Now, I LOVE bad movies.  But this is so bad, that it can't even be good in a "so bad it's good" way.  It's just plain bad.  There is no energy here.  At least half of the film was shot on what seemed to be a leftover apartment set from Taxi.  The entire movie feels like it was shot on Television sets, the only difference was that it was in 35mm.  Wow!  Yay!  Thanks for the upgrade jerks!  I would say this was more like a failed TV pilot than an actual feature. 

Danza has no acting talent whatsoever.  I've never thought so.  He's just a big meathead that is more fun to make jokes out of and quote his horrible lines from Who's The Boss than actually watching him act for real.  Danny DeVito IS talented, but you wouldn't know it from his tired work here.  He uses some strange accent that is hard to understand, and more importantly... isn't funny.  The actors who portray the hitmen are even worse.  I didn't understand why writer/director Kronsberg would want to spend so much time on these bumbling idiots as they go through the comedic motions with the same grace a Z-Grade version of the Three Stooges. 

But it has monkeys!  Sorry...  apes.  They are definitely the most talented thing here, but even they look embarassed.  All they get to do is make raspberry sounds, flip the bird, and shake their arms over their heads to music.  In theory, it sounds ridiculously entertaining to see Tony Danza being kissed my an ape, but every gag has whiskers on it.  Heck, every gag has 20 year old beards.  There was one funny car crash, but other than that, I watched the film with a very straight face. 

This is definitely one of the worst films ever made.  If, like me, you are somewhat interested in bad films (they're just as important to watch as the good ones in my opinion), seek it out and you won't be disappointed.  But those looking for a quality film, RUN LIKE HELL!!! 

1/2 (out of ****)

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