review for Monkey Business on AllMovie

Monkey Business (1952)
by Craig Butler review

Not one of director Howard Hawks' top-ranked efforts, Monkey Business is still a very entertaining, if immensely silly piece of fluff. While the director's efforts may remind some of fellow director Frank Tashlin in its zaniness and non-stop inanity, it's still very much a Hawks film; the care he takes in setting up punchlines, the attention to precise timing, the seemingly carefree flow, the improbability that seems somehow grounded in a strange kind of reality prove this. While the script at times seems beneath the talents of its three esteemed creators, pulling off a story this silly requires the kind of enormous skill they bring to the project. Of even more benefit is the cast, headed by the irreplaceable Cary Grant, who holds the film together with his on-the-mark performance. Grant makes it all seem effortless, and if he finds the proceedings somewhat ridiculous, he never lets on to the audience. He is well matched by Ginger Rogers, who makes Edwina's transformation believable and delightful, and by the always reliable Charles Coburn. Marilyn Monroe has little to do in a small role, but she commands attention nonetheless; director Hawks would find considerably more for her to do the next year in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.