A young girl's life turns hairy when her new pet monkey turns out to be a trained pickpocket on the run from a scheming gypsy.
In Venice Beach, California, a trained monkey named Fingers pickpockets his unsuspecting victims. When two mafiosos suggest a business proposition between themselves and the monkeys owner (Keitel), he shows them Fingers capabilities by stealing jewellery and money from a house. Inside, doting parents Tom (Christopher McDonald) and Amy (Rogers) fawn over their newborn baby, much to the annoyance of their daughter Eva (Birch). Later, fed up with this lack of parental attention and their refusal to allow her a pet, Eva is walking through the park when she comes across Fingers, on the run from his master. She names him Dodger, takes him home, and hides him in her bedroom. Meanwhile, a none too happy Keitel searches for his missing monkey, whose absence may now cost him very dear indeed.
Like Free Willy, this Ridley Scott-produced effort is based around a child protagonist brought out of herself through a friendship with an animal victimised by an adult criminal. Unlike the whale tales solo rough and tumble, boys adventure feel, however, this emphasises the rather more feminine values of secrecy and social relationships.
Clever use of the camera adds much to the monkey shots, child actress Birch carries the proceedings more than adequately and Keitel delivers a workable if lightweight villainous performance, but its the simian who steals the show. And aside from an excruiating coda, this is a rare childrens movie mercifully free of the usual patronising clichés
Refreshingly sincere monkey comedy