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I've often heard the joke that if you filled a room with monkeys and typewriters, one of them would finally come up with a movie script. After viewing Dunston Checks In, I'm becoming suspicious that the joke is over.
In the movie, the manager of the plush Majestic Hotel (Jason Alexander) is under pressure from the owner's wife, Mrs. Dubrow (Faye Dunaway) to ensure the hotel is in perfect operating order. Rumor has it that a mystery hotel critic, posing as a guest, is considering the Manhattan venue for inclusion in a new six-star category. Speculative staff are convinced the critic is the obnoxious Lord Rutledge (Rupert Everett), who really is a crook using an orangutan to climb up the exterior of the hotel, and break into guest's rooms.
After the demise of Clyde, an orangutan who died from abuse after appearing in Eastwood's movies in the early eighties, I have a difficult time accepting the use of an endangered species maintained in captivity for the purpose of entertaining movie crowds. An organization called Orangutan Foundation International claims that whenever an orangutan is featured in a popular movie, poaching rates increase--especially in the far east--as children beg parents for a new pet.
I am also especially hard on the sex, violence, and language ratings in movies like Dunston that are marketed specifically at children. Several sexual references are found in the script, and one scene is filled with sexual innuendo as Dunston substitutes for Dunaway's masseuse. In the end, violence is used to finally solve the problem as the manager gets his man, along with one of the other guests who turns out to be the hotel critic. His boys enthusiastically ask their dad how it feels to "drop" two people in one day, to which dad exclaims, "Great!"
I cannot recommend Dunston to your children, but it would be interesting to see if they could come up with anything better, given a few typewriters and a quiet room...
Dunston Checks In is rated PG: for some mild language and sensuality
Cast: Jason Alexanger, Faye Dunaway