Dunston Checks In
February 28, 2012
NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it—MONKEYS AREN’T FUNNY!
(Movie posters featuring monkeys (plus a couple images of real-life monkeys) are shown)
NC (voiceover): SO WHY DO WE KEEP USING ‘EM? Well, I guess it’s because they’re so easy to train. And to their credit, they’re the only animal that can come close to doing some real acting. When a monkey needs to look sad, they can look sad. When a monkey needs to look happy, they can look happy.
NC: When a monkey needs to PISS you off, it makes “Dunston Checks In”!
(The title screen for “Dunston Checks In” is shown, followed by a montage of clips from the movie)
NC (voiceover): Even for 1996, these were old, tired, uninventive jokes. Some person falls in something, the monkey smiles, and somebody shrugs. I wouldn’t show that to a dying child who could only be saved by watching a movie but “Dunston Checks In” is the only movie around…
NC: Because…the other movies were destroyed by…this one being so bad…yet somehow it can provide the cure for this...very…odd disease—SEE? IT’S SUCKING THE FUNNY OUT OF ME! Let’s get this over with!
(The movie begins)
NC (voiceover): We start off with a man entering a hotel, played by Glenn Shadix. We then see a little kid named Kyle watching from afar.
Kyle: (Eric Lloyd) (communicates to his brother Brian via walkie talkie while hiding in an air vent) You should see this lady who checked in. She weighs about a thousand pounds.
Brian: (Graham Sack) (communicates back while in the boiler room) That’s a physical impossibility. And stay focused; we’re on a mission here.
NC (voiceover): Ah, so this is where “Hugo” stole all their material from. You know what? I’ll allow it. It’s better than this! “Hugo” had a mechanical man as opposed to a monkey!
NC: Same thing was gonna happen with “Terminator,” but they fixed that! (A Photoshopped image of the Terminator with a chimpanzee’s head superimposed over it is shown)
Kyle: (radios to Brian) Okay. Go!
NC (voiceover): But Kyle and his brother Brian want to cause trouble because…the script really wants that.
(Brian has turned a wheel in the boiler room to turn off the water coming from the mouth of a statue in the lobby’s fountain; a male employee (named Norm) notices this and comes closer to look further into it)
Kyle: Now, now, now, now!
Brian: (turns back the wheel too fast and it falls off) No! No!
(The wheel’s becoming loose increases the water’s pressure to full blast; Norm ducks before the fountain statue sprays a full blast of water at the back of an opera lady’s head; the opera lady shrieks and moves out of the way before the water is sprayed on the back of Lionel Spalding (Shadix), to which he reacts and ends up throwing his small dog in the air behind him before it lands in the opera lady’s arms, causing her to fall backwards into the fountain)
NC (voiceover): Okay, I'm sorry.
NC: I know it’s early in the review, but I gotta give a short little comedy lesson here. (He clears his throat) Water is not funny. (Beat) It-It’s not. It can…be funny if it’s used to inflict pain.
Stanley Spadowski (from “UHF”): Open wide! (He sprays a fire hose at the mouth of a boy in a cowboy costume, causing him to be propelled backward from the water’s high pressure)
NC: That’s funny. Or…maybe used to calm somebody down.
Leo Bloom (from 1968’s “The Producers”): (is hysterical and just got drenched with water by Max Bialystock in hopes of being able to calm down) I’m WET!
NC: That’s funny. But…if it’s just used to…
NC (voiceover): …get somebody wet, what are you left with? (Beat) Somebody who’s fucking wet!
NC: (holds a cup full of water in one hand) Look! Look it! (He proceeds to pour the water on top of his head) OHH, NO! OH, I’M WET! I’M WET! (He puts the cup aside) Oh, how embarrassing! This will eventually...dry off at some point! There’s no…physical repercussions for…any of this—Yeah, seriously, people. Physical comedy is the best way to go! (He is then suddenly punched by a boxer’s arm and goes flying off-screen before we hear a crash)
NC (voiceover): And insert depressing casting choice in 3, 2, 1. (The camera pans over to the hotel manager Robert Grant (Jason Alexander), witnessing the commotion caused by Kyle and Brian’s prank) Oh, Jason. Oh, oh, oh, Jason. Come on, who’d you kill? What crime did you commit to have to be subjected to this punishment? You couldn’t have read the script while doing “Seinfeld” and actually said to yourself, “Hey! This has potential!” It has to be to make you suffer for something!
NC: Come on, come on, you can tell me. It’s… (He looks around before leaning in close to the camera to speak as though in secret) it’s because Jerry knew you were funnier than him, right? This was his way of putting you in your place?
NC (voiceover): He’s in charge of running the hotel, and making sure everything goes according to plan. And, let me guess, he’s the boys’… (The word “Father” appears next to a picture of Darth Vader with a “Ding!” sound, which repeats for each of the following) and the mother is… (The word “Kaput” appears next to a picture of Bambi’s mother) and a great big fancy party is happening… (The word “Tomorrow" appears next to a picture of Little Orphan Annie and her dog Sandy) and the odds of any plot device being original in this movie is… (The word “Zero” appears next to a picture of the video game character of the same name)
NC: Could you just…fax me the disappointment I’m going to receive?
NC (voiceover): We then see the arrival of Dunston in a box with no holes in it—that’s promising—who belongs to a performance devoid of any caring by Rupert Everett.
Lord Rutledge (Everett): (to Kyle, who is curious about the trunk) That’s better. You know, I can do all sorts of tricks. Do you know what my specialty is, hmm?
Rutledge: (speaks sinisterly) I can make nosey little boys disappear.
NC (voiceover): Look, I know you’re trying to out-bad your Dr. Claw performance, but trust me, nobody’s gonna steal the thunder from that.
NC: Though if there’s anyone that can overact you, it’s you.
NC (voiceover): And speaking of not giving a shit about a performance, Faye Dunaway is in this movie, too, playing the owner of the hotel. Is it any coincidence that the movie she did before this was called “Drunks”? (The movie poster for said movie is shown) Maybe that’s why she said “Yes” to this stinker.
Elena Dubrow (Dunaway): (to Robert) The Le Monde people have decided to award a sixth star to the most elite hotels in the world.
NC (voiceover): Yeah, that’s right. They might be running the first six-star hotel. Kind of defeats the purpose of a five-star rating, but whatever. That would apparently mean that he has to cancel his vacation with his kids for a third time.
Elena: Robert, I know it’s an inconvenience.
Robert: Uh, yes.
Elena: When we get the sixth star, you are in for a big bonus, and you can take them someplace fabulous. (Kyle is seen hiding under a desk, listening to all this) But if we don’t get the sixth star, well…time off just won’t be a problem, will it?
NC (voiceover): She’s gonna fire someone for not taking three vacations? Isn’t that like having a waiter pay you for the meal he just brought?
(Cut to Lord Rutledge in his hotel room opening his trunk)
Rutledge: Let’s get to work.
(In the trunk, a black curtain is pulled open to reveal an orangutan named Dunston, grinning and chuckling)
NC (voiceover): So it turns out Dunston is being used by Everett to steal a woman’s jewels on the next floor.
(While climbing up the side of the hotel, Dunston looks in through a window to see Kyle playing around with Lionel’s dog (named Neil) while waiting to use an elevator)
Kyle: (to Neil, while hugging him) Yes, you’re a good doggy. (He puts Neil down on the floor) Up! (Neil jumps into his arms) Yes, good boy.
NC (voiceover): Aww. You will believe that a monkey can be horribly beaten by his trainer to cry.
(Cut to Dunston having climbed through an open window into a rich woman’s hotel room)
NC (voiceover): So he goes in to steal the jewels while…going through an experimental phase.
(Dunston is seen trying on different hats in front of a mirror; at one point, he finds a pair of panties and puts it over his head before making kissing faces)
NC (voiceover): (sarcastically finds this hysterical) I—wha—that goes on a LADY, Dunston, not on your head! Oh, I never! (speaks normally) So after he gets the jewels, he hears Kyle on the roof and goes to check it out.
(Neil barks, sensing Dunston is near; Dunston hides underneath the ledge, out of sight)
Kyle: What’s the matter?
(Neil runs up to the ledge; Kyle falls to the ground as a result of having held onto his leash a bit too long)
(Neil climbs onto the ledge and jumps off it, over Dunston)
NC (voiceover): Whoa! This movie got dark in a millisecond!
NC: Oh, my God! Does this mean this movie actually has a good sense of humor—?
(Cut to Neil climbing out of a garbage dumpster before we see Kyle return Neil to his owner)
NC (voiceover): D’OHH, HE LIVES! Gah, we substituted pain, or—even better—DEATH for just a damn messy joke again.
NC: Curse it, movie. You gave me hope that an animal could die in this film!
NC (voiceover): But Dunston decides to go rogue and keeps the jewels for himself.
(Rutledge goes after Dunston after Dunston climbs out the window and onto the air shaft)
Rutledge: (is at the window) Dunston! Dunston, come back here! Dunston, I got some lovely bananas here.
(Dunston hangs on the air shaft and pats his rear while grinning)
Rutledge: Don’t wave your hairy bottom at me! (Dunston escapes into the air shaft) DUNSTON!
NC (voiceover): You know, I have to admit, for as over-the-top as he is, he’s still more subtle than the Duke from Moulin Rouge. (Footage of the Duke is shown briefly) I don’t know if that’s something to be PROUD of, as most people share that distinction, but it’s still worth noting. (Back to the movie) So Kyle tells his dad about seeing Dunston, but his dad doesn’t believe him. So he sets up a video camera to try to film some paranormal ape-tivity.
(Cut to Dunston pestering Robert while he’s sleeping by tapping him on the back)
Robert: Kyle, go to sleep.
NC (voiceover): My God, they’re not. You’ve done every single monkey cliché in the book, you’re not honestly going to do—(Dunston crawls into bed with Robert) Yup! They’re doing the “monkey in the bed” routine, where the person mistakes some sort of strange animal for a human being in their bed.
NC: People, I’m not kidding! This joke has been around since the dawn of time! (Beat) No, really! I’m not joking! It was there at the birth of man! Look!
(Cut to the opening scene of “2001: A Space Odyssey” with NC providing subtitles for what the monkeys are saying to each other)
Various Monkeys (from “2001”): "Hey, guys, I totally think we should do a bit where a guy sleeps in a bed with a monkey and he doesn’t know it.” “I dunno, that sounds like it might get old fast.” “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” “We’re also gonna put babies in Super Bowl commercials! That will never get old!" “Babies? Genius! Can we make them horribly lip-sync?” “YES…” “WE…” “CAN!!!!”
(Back to the movie)
NC (voiceover): The monkey, of course, eventually leaves, but comes across Kyle on top of a laundry chute.
(Dunston has jumped into Kyle’s arms, making them both fall down the chute head first and scream)
NC (voiceover): Thank God they fall in an absolute straight line with no movement or weight distribution getting in the way, or else they’d break their necks instantly, ha-ha.
(Dunston and Kyle land safely in one of the laundry carts filled with bed sheets)
Kyle: (has taken a good look at Dunston for the very first time) Whoa.
NC (voiceover): Oh, I’m sorry, that’s sloppy screenwriting for “I sense an immediate connection with you.”
(Cut to Dunston walking in a massage room with the massager (named William) having walked out of the room while a hotel guest (named Mrs. Dellacroce) lies on her front on a table, waiting to receive more of her massage)
NC (voiceover): I think it also translates out to—Remember that scene we did a moment ago with a person not realizing that you’re behind him? Remember how unfunny that was? You want to do it again? LET’S DO IT AGAIN!
(Dunston has squirted lotion on Mrs. Dellacroce's bare back and rubs it all over)
Mrs. Dellacroce: (thinks it’s William) [I didn’t hear you] come in. Ooh, that’s just how I like it. (Dunston now stands on her back and waves his arms around) Oh, you are astounding! I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s fabulous.
Clint Eastwood (from “The Critic”): (is asleep while Clyde the monkey kisses him on the cheek) Someone’s kissing me. It must be a beautiful woman. (He kisses Clyde on the lips) Now, I’ll make sweet love to you while keeping my eyes closed the whole time.
Mrs. Dellacroce: More, William, more!
NC (voiceover): But this time, the father sees Dunston (in a greenhouse) and…I have to admit, this is a pretty funny scene.
Robert: (tries to summon Dunston to him) Come here, come here. (He looks up and screams)
(Sudden cut to two old women waiting quietly for Robert’s return to a meeting they’re having while Dunston jumps onto Robert in the background)
NC (voiceover): I’ll confess, that gets a little bit of a chuckle out of me. But good God, is there anything remotely funny, remotely humorous that can be brought in to breathe some life into this movie?
Pee-wee Herman (from “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” dubbed by NC in a low voice): (dressed as a bellhop) Paging Mr. Herman. Mr. Herman, you have a crappy movie to save with a monkey in it.
(Cut to black as we get two commercials from blip.tv before returning to the review)
(A bag is dropped on the floor in the hotel lobby as the camera pans up to reveal Buck LaFarge (Paul Reubens), an animal exterminator)
NC (voiceover): Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have Pee-wee, or Paul Reubens, to be more precise! Yeah, I know. He’s in “Dunston Checks In” because his ding-a-ling checked out, but who cares? He’s one of the only people to put any energy in this flick!
Buck LaFarge: (to Robert and Elena, while doing odd things to some items on the desk, like lifting off the top of a box, lifting up a lamp, and flipping a card stack to one side) You think it might be cute to put a baby orangutan in your kid’s basket. Well, at first it is cute. Then it gets bigger. The kids lose interest. And then one night, you flush it down the toilet.
NC: Okay, so he’s not…”funny” funny, but he tries to…
NC (voiceover): … kill the monkey, and that gets brownie points in my book!
(Buck falls backwards in the greenhouse because his shoelaces were tied together (done by Kyle while Dunston had distracted him) and inadvertently shoots his gun through a glass panel)
NC (voiceover): But Dunston gets away and works his way to—(Kyle has followed Dunston and finds that there’s blood on a metal banister) Holy crap. Blood? Really? Hey-hey, maybe chilled monkey brains isn’t off the menu!
(Cut to Brian and Kyle in Kyle’s room taking a look at Dunston’s bloodied hand (caused by a cut from the broken glass Buck had accidentally shot out earlier))
NC (voiceover): Oh, for God’s sakes, it’s just a cut on his hand! WOULD IT KILL THIS MOVIE IF YOU JUST…KILL THIS MOVIE?!
Brian: (successfully removes a piece of glass from Dunston’s wound with a pair of tweezers) Got it.
Kyle: We got it, Dunston.
NC (voiceover): So they fix it that Dunston gets one of the rooms, as we partake in yet another implausible favorite of the “Kids are too stupid to question it” file: the half-assed disguise!
(Brian and Kyle escort Dunston (disguised as an old man and riding in a wheelchair) out of an elevator)
Kyle: Let’s go, Dr. Ngoc.
NC: Okay, so… (An image of Clark Kent (played by Christopher Reeve) is shown) Man with glasses, fools them. (Am image of live-action Raphael from the TMNT franchise is shown) Turtle with hat, fools them. (Back to the movie) Chimp in chair…
(NC outweighs on the possible outcome and gets fed up, pushing an imaginary button on his desk)
Bela Lugosi (from “Ed Wood”): (audio) Bullshit! (Accompanying text appears on-screen)
Elena: (to Robert) Do you think there’s a way we can keep your boys locked in their rooms? You know, just ‘til the Crystal Ball is over?
Robert: Mrs. Dubrow, I can assure you that there will be no further incidents.
NC (voiceover): Yeah, we know. Cut. (speaks over Robert’s next line of dialogue) Cut. Cut. Cut.
Robert: As of this moment, they are both on their best behavior.
(Cut to Brian, Kyle and Dunston causing mischief in an Egyptian-themed hotel room)
NC: Hey, you know what would have been really funny? Uh, if you did something funny.
NC (voiceover): Rupert Everett finds them in the room and does what most people wanted to do since the first “Santa Clause” movie.
(Rutledge has Kyle tied up and placed in a bathtub before placing masking tape over Kyle’s mouth)
Rutledge: An even more endangered species.
NC (voiceover): Alright, just one more for the nose, and I’ll consider this a happy ending.
(After leaving the bathroom and shutting the door behind himself, Rutledge sees Dunston hold out his arms as though wanting a hug)
Rutledge: Oh, so now we’re feeling repentant. Go on, then. Give Daddy a big hug.
(Rutledge gives Dunston a hug before Dunston bites him on the ear)
Rutledge: AHH! (Dunston quickly escapes the room)
NC (voiceover): (sarcastically) Oh, no! He opened his mouth and they added a biting sound effect! Good thing that doesn’t leave any marks whatsoever!
(Rutledge leaves the room to go find Dunston, while Dunston hangs up high and out of sight)
NC (voiceover): So he (Dunston) gets the kid loose and they (Kyle and Brian) go downstairs to the ballroom where they fill the father in on what happened.
Robert: (to Kyle) He tied you up?!
Kyle: Yes, and he’s gonna hurt Dunston if he finds him.
Robert: Okay. You guys, you split up, you find the monkey, and you take him upstairs to the apartment. I’m gonna take care of Lord Rutledge.
NC: Uh, no, let’s try this again.
(NC rewinds the footage back a bit)
Robert: He tied you up?!
Kyle: Yes, and he’s gonna hurt Dunston if he finds him.
NC (voiceover): (dubs over Robert) I’m calling the police.
(NC adds in footage of police cars showing up and then a cut of Rutledge being taken away by the police, complete with a “THE END” caption and the ending to the Looney Tunes theme music)
NC: But no! Then we couldn’t get all sorts of…
NC (voiceover): …hilarity with people mostly just getting messy again. Come on, people. Big laughs come from big pain. Throw in some physical humor! Oh, well, actually, I guess we do get this.
(Lionel Spalding finds Dunston hiding under a table, and Dunston looks up at him)
Lionel Spalding: (stands up and shouts to everyone) Monkey head! Monkey…
(Buck slaps Lionel on the cheek)
Lionel Spalding: Why is everyone in this hotel always slapping me?!
(Buck slaps Lionel on the cheek again)
NC: (laughs) Can we just make the rest of the movie Pee-wee slapping Otho?
(Footage of Buck slapping Lionel is repeated several times in a row)
NC: In fact, hell, this could be his drug PSA!
(The repeated footage of Buck slapping Lionel continues with Pee-wee Herman (from his infamous drug PSA) appearing on the bottom right corner)
Pee-wee Herman (from the drug PSA): This is crack.
NC: He’s not entirely wrong.
(Cut to Elena finding Kyle near a tall cake with people running about in panic)
Elena: You did this! You brought that monkey into my hotel! (She chases Kyle around the cake) You’ve been nothing but trouble since your daddy started working here!
NC (voiceover): WILL SOMEONE JUST DESTROY THE CAKE ALREADY? We know it’s coming. We know it’s not gonna be funny, so can we just get it out of the way here?
(Having stood on a chair, Elena looks up to see Dunston jump from a crystal chandelier and onto her, making her scream and fall backwards into the cake)
NC: Yeah, by the way, cake isn’t funny, either. (Beat) Unless if done with Eddie Izzard or Portal. (Images of Eddie Izzard’s video “Dress to Kill” and the video game “Portal: First Slice” are shown quickly) But those are rare…VERY bizarre exceptions!
NC (voiceover): So Everett is arrested, Dunston makes the little “Yes!” motion—I fucking hate you—Alexander gives a look like his career is over, and Dunaway fires him from his job, only to get a job from…her husband?
Victor Dubrow: (to Robert) I want you to stay. This is the finest hotel in the entire chain.
NC (voiceover): (is confused) What, they didn’t like each other? Did they split up? That’s his weekend ho? I don’t know, but it results in him getting another hotel job in Bali. Why? Because I think the filming crew really wanted a vacation in Bali!
Robert: (to Lionel, who is vacationing at the hotel in Bali) As you can see, my family and I…have dedicated to making your stay here at the Bali Majestic…as uneventful and trouble-free as humanly possible.
(Neil looks up to bark at what’s up in the palm tree above him; the camera pans up to reveal Dunston and his family up at the top and Dunston playing around with a coconut)
Robert: I can guarantee you with every fiber in my body there will be no further incidents we have to deal with on this trip. And in addition to our native chef, isn’t that…
(Lionel looks up and gasps before Dunston drops the coconut from above)
Lionel Spalding: NOOOO!
(The coconut lands on the camera, cutting to black (NC adds in a splotch of blood) before the end credits roll)
NC (voiceover): Okay, no blood, but we do get something truly worse: a rap song!
Background Singer: [Ow, ow, ow, ow / All aboard that funk boat that I’m about to start sailing now-a…
NC: (mocks the singer, making jive gestures with his arms) Yeah! Yo! Monkey in the house! (He slaps his hands on his desk to resume speaking normally) Okay, I would expect this movie to do anything different that wasn’t…anything different!
(Clips from the movie play again as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): This movie hits every boring note, every boring cliché, every boring character. I guess this is gonna sound strange, but for such a boring tired premise, I’m really shocked it was…THIS BORING AND TIRED! It never takes any risks, never does anything different! I’m just waiting any minute for Clint Eastwood and Clyde to break in and KICK THEIR BORING ASSES!
NC: So, class, what have we learned today? MONKEYS AREN’T FUNNY! (Accompanying text appears below him briefly) They never have been funny, they never will be funny! (Beat) Unless they’re being used to cheer up a…
(Footage of the character Carin from Patch Adams is shown)
NC (voiceover): …fictional dead girlfriend who was molested as a child…
NC: (brings out a giant stuffed ape) …in which case, they’re hilarious! (He shakes the toy around) WHOO-HOO! WHOO-WHOO! Laughter is the best medicine! WHOO-HOO! (He makes the toy touch itself in the crotch) He touched me there, Doctor! WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOO! I’m the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don’t have to! (He gets up to leave with the toy) OHH-HOO-HOO! HOO! No more monkey business! OHH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO! I’m going to hell!
Channel Awesome Tagline—Buck: You think it might be cute to put a baby orangutan in your kid’s basket.