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Film / Monkey Trouble

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What would you do if the pet you wanted was one of America's Most Wanted?

"He's cute. He's cuddly. He's a klepto."

Monkey Trouble is a 1994 comedy film starring a young Thora Birch, directed by Franco Amurn and written by Franco Amurri and Stu Krieger. This movie also stars Harvey Keitel, Mimi Rogers, Christopher McDonald and Kevin Scannell.

The film opens to a carnival where a man named Azro is entertaining a crowd of people with his trained Capuchin monkey. His money making is short-lived when a couple of men catches on to Azro's ruse of having his monkey steal values from his costumers when they hand money to the monkey.

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Eva Gregory longs for a pet to call her own after feeling left out and ignored when her new baby half-brother arrives. Unfortunately, not only is Eva's stepfather Tom allergic to fur and she can't keep a pet at her father's house for him being a pilot and thus travels a lot, but her mother Amy doesn't believe she's responsible enough.

One day, the monkey runs away from his gypsy thief master who blames him for his domestic woes and winds up at Roxbury Memorial Park. There, he sees Eva walking through the park from school and shows himself to her. After naming the monkey "Dodger," Eva decides to adopt him. Taking him home, Eva soon finds keeping Dodger a secret quite difficult so she decides to keep him at the pet store after explaining to the pet store owner that Dodger's a surprise present for her mother and he dad wants her to train him so Eva wants him at the store while she's away.

Eva soon learns of Dodger's talent of thievery when at a grocery store, Dodger steals food and hides it in Eva's backpack but she returns it. After finding stolen jewelry upon returning home, Eva starts teaching him not to steal all the while Azro's looking for his monkey.


  • Abusive Parents: Azro’s suggested he may have been this to his son Mark.
  • Actor Allusion: At one point, Azro calls the monkey “Fingers.” His actor Harvey Keitel played a character named ‘Fingers’ in the movie Fingers.
  • The Alcoholic: Apparently Azro.
  • Amicable Exes: Eva's parents, Peter and Amy may be divorced, but remain on decent terms the whole way throughout the movie.
  • Brick Joke: Twice in the movie, Eva explains she got Dodger “in the Caribbean from some pirates.” Then while she’s home alone at her father’s house, she mistakes Azro for a pirate when he looks through the window.
  • Cassandra Truth: Eva eventually comes clean about Dodger after Azro stole him back. Unfortunately, Tom and Amy discovered the jewel box in her room where Dodger hidden all the stolen jewel.
  • Character Development: Throughout the movie, Eva becomes more responsible and becomes nicer to her younger brother Jack, courtesy of Dodger.
  • Dedication: To director Franco Amurri's daughter, Eva.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Eva's plot to have a weekend alone with Dodger in her father's unoccupied house, goes horribly wrong. And it all starts with Eva not considering that her father wouldn't shop for food before leaving for work, leaving the house with little food for her to eat. It all goes downhill from there.
  • Free-Range Child: Eva goes to places without an adult or any other peers despite being nine years old, going as far as tricking her friend’s mom to drop her off at her biological father’s house despite him being out of country.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After Azro talks to the elderly couple who saw Eva with Dodger, the elderly woman brings up the fact Azro doesn’t even look like a doctor.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The elderly couple who mistakes the monkey for Eva’s pet, asks for its name. Eva hesitates for a moment, looks at the monkey who had taken off her red “Dodgers” hat while on her shoulder and places it on his head:
    Eva: His name . . . uh . . . Dodger! He likes the hat.
  • Missed the Monkey by That Much: When Dodge escapes Eva’s room the first time while Eva’s having dinner, she looks for him in the family room. If she had looked up, Eva would noticed Dodger on top the bookcase.
    • Later, as Azro walks on the sidewalk parallel to the beach, he passes Eva with her bike in the background who’s getting Dodger out of her backpack when the latter saw the former.
  • Playing Sick: Eva pulls this off in order to not have to go to her father Peter for a weekend. Subverted when Peter calls Eva and lets her know he can’t see her for the upcoming weekend since his flight schedule got switched at the last minute.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Eva tells her stepfather Tom, who went into her room to tell her there’s someone on the phone for her, she’s on the toilet (actually hiding Dodger), Tom shuts her door and the “A” of “Eva’s Room” falls off.
  • Secret-Keeper: Eva only allows her baby half-brother Jack into her room where she has Dodger hidden. It helps Jack cannot speak yet.
    • Eva has the pet store owner watch Dodger while she’s at school.
    • Eva later tells Katie of Dodger and they become friends again.
  • Shout-Out: After telling the elderly couple she got Dodger from pirates in the Caribbean, the woman suggest Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • A clip of Bugs Bunny short The Wabbit Who Came to Dinner is seen.
    • A classmate of Eva’s presents her dog named ‘Toto” during show-and-tell.
  • Sticky Fingers: Dogder’s a trained pickpocket.
  • Tomboy: Eva. She thinks a lot of her outfits are disgusting and she wears a Tomboyish Baseball Cap often.
  • Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Azro calls himself “Dr. Stevenson” when he put up “Missing Monkey” fliers.
  • Tuckerization: Eva is named after the director’s daughter.
  • Wicked Stepfather: Averted with Eva’s stepfather Tom who seems to be on good terms with her biological father Peter up to the point he has his fellow police officers look for Eva along with Peter and her mother Amy when the girl’s kidnapped by Azro.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Azro.