Monkey Business (1952) - Rotten Tomatoes

Monkey Business (1952)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Monkey Business Videos

Monkey Business Photos

Movie Info

Howard Hawks hoped to capture the screwball comic fervor of his 1938 film Bringing Up Baby with his 1952 comedy Monkey Business. As in the earlier film, Cary Grant stars as an absent-minded professor involved in a research project. This time he's a chemist seeking a "fountain of youth" formula that will revitalize middle-agers both mentally and physically. Though Grant's own laboratory experiments yield little fruit, a lab monkey, let loose from its cage, mixes a few random chemicals and comes up with just the formula Grant is looking for. This mixture is inadvertently dumped in the lab's water supply; the fun begins when staid, uptight Grant drinks some of the "bitter" water, then begins cutting up like a teenager. A harmless afternoon on the town with luscious secretary Marilyn Monroe rouses the ire of Grant's wife Ginger Rogers, but her behavior is even more infantile when she falls under the spell of the youth formula. Everyone remembers the best line in Monkey Business: foxy-grandpa research supervisor Charles Coburn hands the curvacious Monroe a letter and says "Get someone to type this". Even better is his next line: after Monroe sashays out of the room, Coburn turns to Grant and, with eyes atwinkle, murmurs "Anyone can type." Likewise amusing is Monkey Business's pre-credits gag, wherein Cary Grant opens a door and is about to step forward when director Hawks, off-camera, admonishes "Not yet, Cary." Among the co-conspirators on Monkey Business's carefree script are Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer and I.A.L. Diamond, with an original story by Harry Segall (Here Comes Mr. Jordan) as their source. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Watch it now

Cast

Cary Grant
as Prof. Barnaby Fulton
Ginger Rogers
as Edwina Fulton
Marilyn Monroe
as Lois Laurel
Charles Coburn
as Oliver Oxly
Hugh Marlowe
as Harvey Entwhistle
Henri Letondal
as Dr. Siegfried Kitzel
Robert Cornthwaite
as Dr. Zoldeck
Larry Keating
as Mr. G.J. Culverly
Douglas Spencer
as Dr. Brunner
Esther Dale
as Mrs. Rhinelander
George Winslow
as Deep-voiced Boy
George Eldredge
as Auto Salesman
Olan Soule
as Hotel Clerk
John McKee
as Photographer
Faire Binney
as Dowager
Bill McLean
as Bellboy
Paul Maxey
as Dignitary
Mack Williams
as Dignitary
Howard Hawks
as Off-screen voice in opening
Marjorie Halliday
as Bit Receptionist
Harry Seymour
as Clothing Store Salesman
Harry Bartell
as Scientist
Harry Carter
as Scientist
Jerry Paris
as Scientist
Ruth Warren
as Laundress
Isabel Withers
as Laundress
Olive Carey
as Laundress
Dabbs Greer
as Cab Driver
Robert Nichols
as Garage Man
John R. McKee
as Photographer
Gil Stratton
as Yale Man
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Monkey Business

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4)

Attempt to draw out a thin, familiar slapstick idea isn't carried off.

Full Review… | February 3, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Monkey Business ranks with the best works of the American cinema.

Full Review… | February 3, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As soon as this gag is established and provokes the obvious guffaws, the subsequent changes rung upon it become just a little dull.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

he timing of the gags can put most Hollywood comedies, never mind TV sitcoms, to shame.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Screwball classic is still funny but shows its age.

Full Review… | November 4, 2014
Common Sense Media

Mildly amusing screwball comedy about the effects of a youth formula on a married couple, in the vein of (but not as witty or funny) Hawks' 1938 Bringing Up Baby, which also starred Cary Grant.

Full Review… | August 3, 2012
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for Monkey Business

½

It is Cary Grant's and Ginger Rogers' talent what raises this amusing screwball comedy above average and keeps the balls rolling, as they make us laugh out loud especially in those hysterical moments when they behave like reckless, naughty youngsters.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Top gun talent behind and in front of the camera, and yet this one fails to ever get off the ground. The joke: show everyone involved acting respectably (i.e. adult) and then overturn everything by having them act irresponsibly (i.e. young). You know it's sad when a monkey nearly steals the film. Marilyn Monroe ... well, quite literally, all she has to do is just stand there, and she almost steals the whole kit and caboodle. Save this one for a night when you can't sleep.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

If you like screwball comedies, this is for you! You can't beat Cary Grant's bemused expression when one of his leading ladies--Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe--say something, well, screwy. And he certainly has a way with chimpanzees!

Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Monkey Business Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Monkey Business on our Movie forum!

News & Features