Spymate (2006)

Chimp makes movie magic in Spymate

When I heard about the release of the movie Spymate, about a chimpanzee that is also a secret agent, my first thought was “alright, somebody has been reading my diary”. My second thought was “I could sure use some chicken fingers right now”. Finally, my third thought was, “get me to a theatre, stat!”

Spymate is the story of Minkey, a secret agent who happens to be a chimpanzee, and his attempts to save the world from the forces of evil. Minkey and his partner, Mike team up to thwart the plot of Dr. Farley, who has captured Mike’s daughter Amelia. Farley plans to use Amelia’s invention, a chemical drill, to explore a volcano – however, this plan may also cause an explosion that would destroy the country of Japan.

Oh, I know what you are thinking – not another boy meets chimp, boy becomes father, bloodthirsty-villain kidnaps boy’s daughter, chimp flies a hand glider, chimp and boy try to save daughter and Japan movie. Not to worry, this one certainly transcends the genre.

Minkey the chimp delivers a tour-de-force performance. While watching him, you may find it very easy to believe we descend from primates like Minkey – of course you should then immediately come to your senses, and beg God to forgive you for your momentary lapse in common sense. The last person who thought like that was Charles Darwin, and what’s he up to now? Oh, yeah, that’s right, he’s dead!

The chemistry between Minkey and his spy cohort Mike is phenomenal. The pairing is similar to the classic duo of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series, with Mike in the Danny Glover straight-laced partner role, and Minkey in the Mel Gibson role, only hairier and more tolerant of Jewish people.

The producers were smart enough to realize that although Minkey knows karate, can ride a skateboard, operate a digital camera, snowboard, and fly across the world utilizing a jetpack in mere seconds, that alone isn’t enough to carry a 71-minute movie. So they surrounded him with an outstanding supporting cast.

Joining Minkey is the mom from ‘That 70s Show’, the loser from ‘Spin City’, the niece of Julia Roberts, and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) of The Karate Kid fame. It’s as though the producers hijacked a taping of the greatest episode ever of ‘Hollywood Squares’, and said to all the performers, “Let’s make some movie magic!” And sweet bearded Jesus did they ever.

Pat Morita in particular stands out amongst the human stars. The legendary actor died a few months before the release of the film, but God bless him, he still attended the premiere and did publicity for the film. It’s that kind of dedication that made Morita a legend, and it’s clear watching this film that Minkey the chimp has that same work ethic.

This is quite simply the greatest chimpanzee movie of all time – that is until the planned 2008 release of my directorial debut, Tri-mates. Assuming my funding comes through, Tri-mates will tell the erotic story of a love triangle between a chimpanzee, a gorilla and an orangutan. We’re still looking for a cinematographer, some extras, and a fluffer, so apply using the form below.

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