Space Chimps (G) ★★

Review Date: July 18th, 2008

OK, so Space Chimps isn't exactly a Pixar-esque masterpiece, but it should serve its purpose of entertaining the young tots.


This isn't rocket science, folks; it's actually Chimp rocket science. As we all know, chimpanzees are secretly a lot smarter than their so-called higher primate cousins. At least they seemed to be in Space Chimps. When a $5 billion Space Agency probe disappears into an intergalactic wormhole, the agency turns to their on-hand, super-chimp astronauts who have been training and waiting for their day in space. This includes no-nonsense and fearless Lt. Luna (voice of Cheryl Hines) and uptight Commander Titan (voice of Patrick Warburton). The agency also thinks they need an ace-in-the-hole to give the mission some publicity and recruits the grandson of the most famous space chimp of all, Ham--except Ham III (voice of Andy Samberg) is a free-spirited circus performer more interested in zero gravity high jinks than living up to his illustrious heritage. No matter, he's shot into space with this two crewmates anyway and learns some valuable life lessons--all while saving the peaceful inhabitants of a bizarro planet from an evil scrooge.


SNL cast member Samberg presents a certain slacker attitude to his simian alter-ego, which fits the character just fine. One wonders what interested the "D**k in a Box" YouTuber in doing a kiddie flick--but then again, all little boys at one time or another wanted to be an astronaut. Guess even by playing a monkey, Samberg gets his wish. Hines doesn't get to shine nearly as bright as she does on Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing it straight as Luna, which is a shame, but Warburton makes up for it with his booming and bombastic Titan. Warburton truly has one of the most recognizable and best voices to come around in a while, and even though he and Samberg never met in the recording studio, their characters sparring onscreen is about the only more-adult and hilarious thing in the movie. Former Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth (recently Emmy nominated for her turn on the hit TV show Pushing Daisies) also lends her cutesy voice as one of the planet's denizens--a bulbous-headed little alien who belts out high notes when she gets scared. Yeah, it's kinda weird, but Chenoweth sells it.


Nothing really spectacular to report here on the overall look and feel of Space Chimps. It's pretty much your run-of-the-mill CGI effort (and remember the days when the technology used to inspire "ahhs and ohhhs?"). It would be interesting to know, however, just which of the animators' twisted minds came up with the alien planet the chimps find themselves on. It's like Teletubbies on acid--actually somewhat disturbing at times. It might scare some of the smaller tots who might be expecting a Dora the Explorer moment but get a man, er, chimp-eating monster instead. Still, Space Chimps is mostly aimed at the younger audience with little content for their parents. Oh well, guess we've all been spoiled by the Wall-E's of the animated world.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.