Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
Newly cured of horrific nightmares by his dream-therapist girlfriend, Julie (Bridget Fonda), underground cartoonist Stu (Brendan Fraser) is ready for commercial success and wedded bliss. He’s just picked out the ring when he’s knocked cold in an auto wreck. Unlike Down to Earth’s Lance Barton, Stu has the decency to stay in a coma for most of the movie, but that just allows director Henry Selick to switch the action to his protagonist’s subconsciousness. Stu finds himself in a semianimated twilight existence, where his Monkeybone character—who represents his unruly, uh, id—runs free. As in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Cool World, the ‘tooniverse includes a bitchin’ babe, only this time she’s not animated—it’s just Marilyn Manson’s former squeeze Rose McGowan wearing cat whiskers, an unassuming get-up for her. The putatively loony-toons plot involves the perverse Monkeybone’s escape to the real world, where he steals a flask of the “nightmare juice” Julie has synthesized (purely for good, of course) and unleashes it at a charity fundraiser. Meanwhile, Stu battles to escape his unwaking world—as well he might, given that not only McGowan but also Stephen King and Whoopi Goldberg dwell there. Selick directed Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, but he doesn’t benefit from such distinctive material here. A few of the visual gags click, but Stu’s nightmares prove less amusing than his dog’s, and nearly every scene drags. You just can’t do zany on a roller coaster whose top speed is 5 mph. —Mark Jenkins