Spanking the Monkey

Critics Consensus

David O. Russell's feature debut scores with an endearing cast and offbeat humor, finding compelling sweetness in perverse places.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,920
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Movie Info

Bright young student Raymond Aibelli (Jeremy Davies) is forced to sidetrack an important medical internship because his mother, Susan (Alberta Watson), is recovering from a broken leg. When he isn't tasked with the most mundane aspects of Susan's recuperation, Raymond finds distraction in a neighborhood girl, Toni Peck (Carla Gallo). But, as Susan begins relying on her son for both physical and emotional needs, Raymond starts developing disturbing and unwanted new yearnings.

Cast & Crew

Jeremy Davies
Ray Aibelli
Alberta Watson
Susan Aibelli
David O. Russell
Writer (Screenplay)
David O. Russell
Executive Producer
Stanley F. Buchthal
Executive Producer
Janet Grillo
Executive Producer
David Carbonara
Original Music
Mark Sandman
Original Music
Michael Mayers
Cinematographer
Pamela Martin
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for Spanking the Monkey

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Spanking the Monkey

  • Jul 06, 2012
    <i>"A gripping comedy about letting go."</i> David O. Russell burst onto the scene with this challenging and controversial film about an introverted college student and the incestuous disaster of a summer that follows his freshman year. <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> There is something hypnotic about Spanking The Monkey. You watch Jeremy Davies as his summer goes straight downhill and he is stuck taking care of his manic depressive mother, and you are intrigued. That is if you have a good attention span and a tolerance for dark humor. Because this is ink-black humor at its smirkiest. So you are either in for an enjoyably bizarre ride of the demented fashion or you are about to be majorly turned off. In many ways, this is like The Graduate, except this indie devil wants to blow away the dated shock of having an affair with a married, older woman with an even more shocking and rather disturbing taboo. David O. Russell, who has a bizarre and neurotic look at family life (see his Flirting With Disaster, an even better film), gives us an interesting character study of a tormented college student who is virtually nailed to the ground by his dysfunctional parents. I can see why some people may hate this movie from its difficult subject matter, but I feel like I was sucked in this guy's life and that's what I love about movies that have the power to do that. Yet, as the film grew darker and sadder, with a bittersweet ending that felt like a high note of hope compared to the rest of the film, I was relieved when the ending credits came and I could return from the trance and go back to my decidedly happier lifestyle.
    Lorenzo v Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2010
    Spanking The Monkey is probably one of the best Dark Comedies I have ever seen. Jeremy Davies has always been a good actor and has never put out a bad performance, even in Twister when he had four or five scenes, he is just a quirky and very talented actor. Great movie, really great acting, and a very interesting plot make Spanking The Monkey essential viewing for lovers of Independent Cinema.
    Jason R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2009
    Okay, I'm resolving to stop reading the synopsis before I watch a 'cutting edge' film. I postponed viewing this incredible 'little' movie because I have an aversion to incest. Not to mention that the title put me off a trite as well. Let's be real, I knew this wasn't going to be a zoology piece on the discipline of arboreal primates. The point is, if you can get past your own neorotic hangups and lingering emotional baggage left over from your dysfunctional childhood, you'll see that <i>Spanking the Monkey</i> is rather good. *NOTE: Just to save you some time, as soon as you see Jeremy Davies you're going to wonder where the heck you've seen him before... <i>Saving Private Ryan</i>.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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