Catching Up with the Renners: Monkey Love

For a moment there, I had myself convinced that Jeremy Renner couldn’t make a bad movie. Then I watched “Monkey Love“, which immediately entered my Top Ten Crappiest Movies at number three, right behind “Lawnmower Man 2” and Tim Burton’s horrid “Alice in Wonderland“. I shall now have to revise my opinion to ‘Jeremy Renner can’t be bad in a movie, even if the movie sucks’, although this is certainly not a stellar moment even in his accomplished career.

The storyline goes something like this: Amy (Amy Stewart), 22 and a college senior, is still living at home with two parents who spend their days reading the newspaper and listening to opera music. Her two best friends are Dil (Jeremy Renner), an auto mechanic, and Aaron (Seamus Dever), who’s been working toward saving enough money to go to college, which then, for some reason never actually explained, he decides not to do. Aaron is also secretly in love with the waitress at the cafe where they hang out, while Dil is secretly in love with Amy, which nobody knows until it’s too late and his confession starts all sorts of complications, real and imagined. Amy, again for some reason never actually explained, feels that because of her current situation, her life is in a major rut from which she must break free. Some of her attempts to shake up her routine include dating the college professor on whom she has a crush, seeking enlightenment from a guru who has sworn a vow of silence as well as one of chastity, and, oh yeah, sleeping with both of her friends. Unfortunately, Amy also seems to make all men she meets fall in love with her and go crazy, none of which, sadly, adds to the comedic value of this flick.

Some minor, nearly utterly useless characters include the crabby lady at the video store, and a confused man who fancies himself the father of just about every younger person in Venice (CA, that is). The filming is as low budget as the locations, the writing is less witty than desperate, and Seamus Dever is probably better suited to running an Irish Pub than acting. Given all that, it certainly doesn’t help that none of the characters have real problems, or that the audience gets to know them before ridiculousness ensues. Top it off with my least favorite ending of any movie, the get-hooked-and-preggo routine, and you can see why I wish I had saved my three bucks instead of wasting 96 minutes of my life. Amy Stewart’s Amy is at best a dullard, and while Jeremy Renner pulls himself together after a brief warmup and actually delivers a solid performance, even he cannot rescue this forgettable disaster.

Still, I managed to have a few favorite Renner moments: the moment when Dil and Amy decide to go ahead and have sex while they’re still at the cafe with Aaron is pricelessly naughty, and later, Dil looks delectable in a burgundy shirt just sitting around. Forward to the kissing scene at the movies, and you’ve just about covered the eye candy bits.

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