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By Debra Kaufman | June 5, 2002

Even with real monkeys and a surprise appearance by showbiz luminaries Willie Tyler and Lester, I still didn’t find this film all that funny…and I was trying really, really hard.

This shot on 16mm feature rips on the ridiculousness of show business by parodying the lives of the Monkey Brothers, a team of superstar casting directors. The Monkey Brothers cast for commercials, but they really don’t look at it that way. They rather see themselves as casting short films…very short films. The Monkey Brothers are best known all over town for the energy that they put into their work, pulling together the finest in commercial actors for a variety of spots that have industry professionals calling them geniuses. In this film, we see the Monkey Brothers face one of their biggest challenges as a job comes their way that would normally go to their competitors, the Donkey Dudes, but the people behind this salsa spot want a little more bang for their buck, so now the Monkey Brothers have to prove that they can deliver that bang.

We get to see how dedicated to their job the Monkey Brothers are as they prep their prospective actors by loading them up with a bunch of character back story just so that they’re properly motivated to take a bite out of a health bar and deliver a single line for their screen test. They treat these actors as if they’re preparing them for an Oscar worthy performance…or the Best of Show award at a dog show. Yes it is silly and that’s the name of the game here. Think “Spinal Tap,” but translated to the world of the casting director and a lot less funny.

Silly can be a good thing, but I just didn’t think this film was very cleverly written or acted at all. It pretty much lives on the premise alone. If you think that the idea of superstar casting directors is hilarious then you’ll probably dig this film. I myself find the premise mildly amusing and that’s how I started out feeling about the film, but the more I had to watch these Monkey Brothers, the more I got irritated. Without any funny jokes or characters to fall back on, I just wanted to strangle these Monkey Brothers by film’s end. But what the hell do I know about funny? A whole bunch of people in Park City Utah thought this film was the goods and gave it the Audience Award at No Dance. Harumph.

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