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Still shot from the movie: Space Chimps.

Space Chimps

For Human Beings becoming an astronaut may be a privilege, but it feels more like conscription for Ham III (voice of Andy Samberg), one of NASA's chimpanzees. So it is with reluctance that the little primate embarks with his crew (voices of Cheryl Hines and Patrick Warburton) on a dangerous mission to retrieve a lost space probe. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: B
Language: B
Drugs/Alcohol: A-
Theater Release: 17 Jul 2008
Video Release: 24 Nov 2008
MPAA Rating: G
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Deep space travel isn't monkey business unless it involves a handful of chimps commissioned to retrieve a lost probe. Strapped into a powerful rocket are Titan (voice by Patrick Warburton), Luna (voice by Cheryl Hines) and Ham III (voice by Andy Samberg), the grandson of an illustrious early interplanetary animal explorer.

Hurtling through a wormhole on the trail of the probe, the threesome crash on an alien planet best described as the land of mutant Teletubbies. There, the inhabitants' leader, Zartog (voice by Jeff Daniels) has taken control of the lost space vehicle and is using it as a throne of intimidation.

Back on earth, mission control loses contact with the orbiting primates once they enter the wormhole. Despite the pleas of the classic scientific nerds (voices by Omid Abtahi, Patrick Bean and Jane Lynch) who are in charge of the launch, a boneheaded Senator (voice by Stanley Tucci) is ready to pull the plug and leave the capsule careening through the galaxy.

Unable to reestablish communications with the command center, the stranded chimp-o-nauts don't monkey around. Confronting Zartog, they attempt to retake the probe and retrofit it for a bumpy ride home. However, a budding romance between Luna and Ham, and the increasingly hostile intentions of Zartog threaten to leave the hairy space travelers marooned on the strange orb forever.

Staying true to his name, the protagonist frequently "hams" it up as he shifts his confidence into overdrive. Later he (and young viewers) learns a few lessons about teamwork and humility. The intervening comedic moments may not be entertaining enough for adults to go ape over but there are some fun moments for baby chimps that, thankfully, don't all involve bathroom humor -- although a couple of questionable moments include a veiled sexual remark and some terms of Deity.

Probably more appropriate for the 12 and under crowd, Space Chimps tells a reasonably engaging story in spite of a few social and ethnic stereotypes (like bespectacled nerds and white, middle-aged politicians). Luckily for little ones, the banana-eating heroes come up with the right stuff.

Space Chimps is rated G:

Cast: Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton, Kristin Chenoweth.
Studio: 2008 Twentieth Century Fox

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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