My Monkey Baby (2009)
Raising children no monkey business
“You took off your panties, now get in your cage!”
Those are indeed powerful words from a mother to her daughter. No, this is not an excerpt from a conversation between Britney Spears and her mother Lynne. This is dialogue from a fascinating documentary titled My Monkey Baby that challenges everything I ever knew about parent – child relationships. These are words spoken from a doting mother to her diaper wearing monkey.
According to My Monkey Baby, there are 15,000 domesticated monkeys living in the United States. If they are all as charming as the three showcased in film, that country is surely a barrel of laughs.
My Monkey Baby follows three couples that have decided for several reasons to raise monkeys as though they were children. Chiefly amongst those reasons is the fact that they are batshit crazy.
The first couple we meet is Jesus and Carmen. Unlike another famous Jesus who would encourage people to go forth and multiply, Jesus has no desire to have children. In fact, he had a vasectomy at age 22 to prevent that from ever happening. However, he has always dreamed of raising a monkey. He didn’t jump into monkey ownership blindly though. According to Jesus, he wanted to wait until he was financially stable enough to take care of a monkey. With a price tag of $4,500 for Butter, their little bundle of joy, it is easy to understand why he waited.
We also meet Mary Lynn and Bob, and their monkey Silly Willy. Mary Lynn adopts monkeys because a medical condition has prevented her from giving birth to her own children. So the only other option clearly is to start filling up the house with primates. Mary Lynn and Bob had six monkeys at the time of filming. I think if they get two more, they automatically qualify for their own TLC show. In one incredible scene, Mary Lynn fears that Silly Willy has swallowed one of her thyroid pills. There is only one rational thing to do in this situation – rush to the veterinarian…oh, wait; you could also call an animal psychic. That is the option Mary Lynn goes for. Thankfully, after a telephone conversation between Silly Willy and the psychic, Mary Lynn’s mind is at ease.
Lastly we meet Lori and Jim. Lori has six children from a previous marriage, but they have all grown apart. In fact, she hasn’t had contact with any of them in over five years. Perhaps part of the reason her children have kept their distance is Lori’s new “daughter” who will never grow up and leave her, Jessy. Lori and Jim’s lives revolve around their 18 year old monkey. Jessy reminds me of another young lady, Paris Hilton. First of all, she is quite spoiled, with a huge wardrobe. Secondly, she probably has syphilis. My favourite scene involving this family is when Lori, Jim and Jessy stop off at a diner, and are asked to leave because it would be a health code violation to have an animal in the establishment. Lori seems absolutely shocked that a monkey would not be allowed in. I’m sure she was organizing a civil rights march the next day.
Now allow me to get up on my soapbox. Monkeys have a lot of fantastic qualities. They are terrific film stars. They also make excellent butlers. But for humans, there is a difference between having a baby, and having a pet. While I found the documentary to be quite entertaining, I had to cringe every time they referred to their pets as “my son” or “my daughter.” Here is a good rule of thumb – if your little one has more hair on their torso than Ron Jeremy has on his taint, then what you’ve got is a pet, not a child.
Normally I would recommend that everyone should see this film. I’m not going to do that this week. While I think that most people should see the documentary, one person who I feel shouldn’t watch it is Angelina Jolie. If Jolie were to watch My Monkey Baby, she would undoubtedly start adopting monkeys by the truckload. Sadly, that would lead to a lot of underprivileged third world children not receiving the opportunity to spend their summers in the French Riviera. That is something that not even the coldest hearted individual would want to see happen.