Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Monkey Love

So here's the story. In 1984, when Amy Stewart was a Palo Alto 12-year-old, she played the title role in Annie, a joint production between Palo Alto Players and PA Children's Theater. I played several small roles in that show. Later that year, she was The Artful Dodger in TheatreWorks' production of Oliver!. I was Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker. Four years later, she played Wendy in the TheatreWorks production of Peter Pan. I played one of the pirates. She lived across the street from Lucie Stern Theater, and her folks hosted cast parties. The next thing I knew, she was moving to Hollywood. She had been doing commercials regularly, both in SF and LA, so this wasn't a huge surprise.

She landed a pretty good part in a soap - "Glory Days" in 2002, and has an impressive string of credits for one-shot gigs on well-known TV shows. Also in 2002 she starred in a shot-on-videotape movie called Monkey Love. I just stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago browsing her IMDB listing. She plays a flaky Venice Beach college student stuck in a rut living with two boring parents, and hanging out with two boring guys. One flips burgers the other is an auto mechanic. The title comes from a running theme in which we learn that chimps have massive testicles while gorillas have tiny ones. And why. I won't spoil it for you.

This Amy is 14 years older than the last time I saw her, and while there are moments when I see a spark of the Amy I knew and loved (especially at the end when she finally smiles for three scenes in a row), but for the most part she's playing someone else. It's called acting, I know. But it's not a role she is well suited to. The Amy in the movie (it's her character's name too) is an angry young woman with no sense of direction, a short temper and shorter attention span, who rarely smiles.

The script is uneven - it has its moments, and it has some great ideas, but the writer, Dave Eisenstark, is pretty ham-handed at trying to tie them together. Videography is okay, production values are shoestring, audio is also shoestring. Mark Stratton probably was not nominated for Best Director for this effort (or lack thereof) - the characters show two emotions, "on" and "off". There's no depth here.

It's a shame. Amy is a much better actress than this film gives her a chance to be. I hope she gets an opportunity to prove me right.

Tags: review, theater

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