B. Monkey combines Something Wild with La Femme Nikita via Pulp Fiction. Beatrice – nicknamed B. Monkey because of her ability to break into any building – is a thrill seeking jewel thief. Alan is a mild mannered primary school teacher. They fall in love at first sight but soon discover that their very different lifestyles aren’t as compatible as they would have liked. Michæl Radford’s direction of Carole King’s patchy and over processed screenplay is stylish but not entirely confident. Ultimately, the elements of the film feel exactly like what they are – a project in which the director was replaced half way through development and a story that was raped by the studio after audience test screenings.
Asia Argento – the apparent result of a cloning experiment involving Shirley Manson and Christina Ricci – handles her first staring role as Beatrice with confidence and style. She’s got oodles of presence and looks adorable on screen. Unfortunately, she’s about as believable as a gun toting jewel thief as Jennifer Lopez was as a US Marshal. Jared Harris (Happiness, I Shot Andy Warhol) is appropriately dull and unattractive as Alan, while Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Velvet Goldmine) is charismatically odd and pretty as the friend who refuses to let Beatrice forget her past. The story interestingly mixes two different genres – the romantic comedy and the heist movie – with some success. Unfortunately, the narrative is sketchy, takes far too long to get going, and simply doesn’t make sense at some points. Nevertheless, the film does contain some wonderful moments – especially those involving Rupert Everett (who apparently begged for the part during a pre My Best Friend’s Wedding dry spell).