Dunston Checks In Review

Dunston Checks In
Robert Grant is anxious to manage the Majestic Hotel perfectly, especially since a hotel inspector is due to visit soon. But when a jewel thief checks in with a larcenous orangutan, and Grant's sons befriend it, havoc breaks loose…

by Angie Errigo |
Published on
Release Date:

29 Mar 1996

Running Time:

88 minutes



Original Title:

Dunston Checks In

Hollywood's periodic insistence on the appeal of ape movies has produced such varied specimens as King Kong, Bedtime For Bonzo and Every Which Way But Loose. The genre didn't fare well in the '90s, however - anyone remember 1995's Monkey Trouble, with Harvey Keitel's malevolent organ-grinder? - and is unredeemed by this shaggy dog about an orang-utan who is a cat burglar.

In a scenario a touch like Home Alone 2 with a hairy, deadpan five-year-old orang-utan substituted for Macaulay Culkin, Dunston turns a swanky hotel topsy-turvy when he is smuggled in by a dastardly British jewel thief (Rupert Everett doing a bizarrely creditable Terry Thomas impersonation). Monkey business comes in the order of Dunston enjoying an orgy of banana splits between heists and chandelier climbs. Seinfeld's Jason Alexander as the hotel manager staggers befuddled through corridors while his two "cute kids" befriend Dunston, and Faye Dunaway is reduced to prat-falling indignity as the hotel's witchy owner.

This is one of those kiddie-pandering capers in which everything could be sorted out in a jiffy if only dad would listen to a crime-busting sprog for a minute. But that would deprive us of tumbles down laundry chutes, collisions with gooey desserts and an almost amusing pursuit by The Man From Animal Control (Paul "Pee-wee" Reubens) before Dunston's antics draw father and sons closer together.

If inclined to drop off the six-year-olds to this irritating foolishness, check yourself out fast.
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