• MVP Double Feature (Mill Creek Entertainment) DVD Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: September 17th, 2019.
    Director: Robert Vince
    Cast: Kevin Zegers, Lomax Study, Oliver Muirhead , Kevin Zegers, Jamie Renée Smith, David Kaye, Tony Alcantar, Cameron Bancroft
    Year: 2000/2001
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    MVP Double Feature – Movie Review:

    Robert Vince has been creating his own little movie business cottage industry over the last twenty years, starting with the two movies presented on this double feature. That industry? Straight to video movies about animals that do things that they don't normally do. For example, with 2003’s Spymate a monkey became a spy and helped the President Of The United States (played by Barry Bostwick, because why the Hell not?), and then there's the 'Buddies' series (which spun off of Air Bud, which Vince produced) where puppies go into space, befriend Santa Claus or turn into superheroes. However, this nonsense all started with 2000's MVP: Most Valuable Primate, where a chimp plays hockey, and the sequel made a year later in the form of MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate, where a monkey learns to skateboard.

    Let’s take a look at the humble beginnings of this bizarre little sub-genre of family-friendly cinematic junk food, with a little help from a glass or two of Jim Beam while we go (hey, this DVD release may be ‘Dove Approved’ for audiences of all ages but if I’m going to double feature a pair of ‘jock monkey’ (or, technically, 'jock great ape') movies, I’m going to need a damn drink or two and don’t you dare judge me for it)…

    MVP: Most Valuable Primate:

    In the first film, we’re introduced to a Jack, a young chimp who has been subjected to a series of experiments by a scientist named Dr. Kendall (Lomax Study) who has been doing his damnedest to teach Jack how to talk to humans using sign language. Unfortunately, Kendall has, as of late, been disappointed in Jack’s progress and because of this, the good doctor’s funding, which stems from a bigwig named Dr. Peabody (Oliver Muirhead), has been cut. Kendall figures he can get through to Jack with more time, but Peabody isn’t having any of it and Jack is to be sold off to a medical research laboratory, which as we all know, is the primate’s equivalent of a horse being sent off to the glue factory. Nobody wants to see that happen to a rad little guy like Jack, right?

    Kendall doesn’t want this foul fate to befall his furry friend and so he squirrels Jack out of the lab but, through a bizarre series of events, Jack winds up being shipped off to Canada – The Great White North! – where he winds up in a weird Christmas village, finds freedom and then, soon after, friendship in the form of a young girl named Tara Westover (Jamie Renée Smith), who just so happens to be deaf. What are the odds? Poor deaf Tara, able to understand sign language, is able to communicate with him – which comes in handy when Jack crashes her older brother Steven (Kevin Zegers)’s hockey practice. Steven and his hockey-loving pals are stoked to find out that Jack has got a heretofore undiscovered ability for the sport, and they let him join their team just in time for the upcoming playoffs… unless that dastardly Dr. Peabody gets in the way, that is. Watch out for Jack’s seriously mean slapshot!

    Somehow Dave Thomas wound up in this movie as a guy named Willy.

    MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate:

    The second film begins when Jack, now a God damn hockey playing sensation, is given the boot from The Seattle Simians, the team that he gave his all for, when he’s unjustly accused of misconduct against some of the human players he’s gone up against. How anyone would expect chimps to play hockey without engaging in misconduct is never really explained, but think about it, they frequently throw turds around, so this is clearly poor planning on someone’s part.

    Regardless, now a wanderer of sorts, Jack, the poor homeless bastard that he is, winds up heading on into the big city where he meets and befriends a homeless skate rat named Ben (Scott Goodman), who lives in a crappy shack near a pool and is so good at skateboarding that he breaks his board. They hang out for a bit, impressing Ollie Plant (Richard Karn – the guy who played Al on Home Improvements), the appropriately named owner of the local skateboarding emporium, and soon enough, with Ollie’s help (he puzzlingly sees something in Ben and gets him a board to use), Jack and Ben are winning one skating competition after another, which winds up taking them on a cross-country adventure. While this is going on, Jack’s brother Louis winds up in Seattle impersonating Jack and proves to suck at hockey, big time, leaving Jack in a bit of a pickle!

    These are not good movies. Oh, they can be entertaining, because monkeys playing hockey and skateboarding are rad monkeys indeed, but the scripts from Vince and his wife Anne Vince are hackneyed and so full of bad family movie clichés that you’ll know exactly where all of this is going before the movie does. On top of that, the acting is pretty much terrible across the board.

    Can the chimps save it? Is the Pope a Catholic?

    Of course the fucking chimps can save it! Chimps wear suits and drink from cups.
    Chimps wake up in bed and turn off alarm clocks, then get out of bed and brush their teeth. They rollerblade and play checkers, they mop floors and throw banana peels. They skate and they score, they tear up the half pipe wearing a hoodie and cool shades and they confuse fat cops eating lunch. Chimps amaze Al from Home Improvements (who really isn’t cool enough to run a skateboard shop – who the Hell cast him in that role? Someone named Lorna Johnson, that’s who!)… really, these chimps do it all. And it’s that quality that makes these genuinely stupid movies surprisingly watchable.

    Unfortunately the third film, 2004’s MXP: Most Extreme Primate, where a chimp goes snowboarding, has not been included. I kind of want to see it now.

    MVP Double Feature – DVD Review:

    Mill Creek Entertainment brings the two films on the MVP Double Feature to DVD in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen and they look just fine for what they are. Colors are nicely defined, detail is good by the standards of the format and the picture is nice and clean, showing no damage, dirt or debris at all. Some minor compression artifacts pop up here and there, but otherwise, no issues.

    Both films get the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound treatment in their native English. They sound pretty decent, with some noticeable rear channel activity in the more active scenes. Dialogue is easy to understand and follow and the levels are well- balanced. Optional English closed captioning is also provided.

    There are no extras on the disc, not even a trailer, but we do get some menus and an insert card with a download code for a digital version of the two movies.

    MVP Double Feature – The Final Word:

    Mill Creek Entertainment’s MVP Double Feature offers up two ridiculously terrible family friendly films in genuinely nice shape and at a price that’s hard to argue with. These are not good movies by any standard, but there’s something to be said for the novelty of chimps playing hockey and tearing up the half pipe and, as oddball cult movie curios, they’re actually pretty entertaining if you’re in the right mood (or state of mind) for them.

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      If I don't see this review in the end-of-year Best of 2020, I'm gonna be pretty disappointed.
    1. chriszilla's Avatar
      chriszilla -
      God help me, but I'm genuinely intrigued by the prospect of a bad family film where a monkey plays hockey!

      If CARNIVAL MAGIC doesn't permanently sour me on "wacky monkey" movies (if and when the Adamson box set ever gets delivered to me!), I'll probably check this out. Even though I know I shouldn't...
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Chris, you can get it on Amazon for $4. It's worth a gamble. These movies are pretty entertaining and the chimp gets a LOT of screen time.
    1. funkvader's Avatar
      funkvader -
      Dave Thomas should have had more of a career. Talented guy.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Quote Originally Posted by funkvader View Post
      Dave Thomas should have had more of a career. Talented guy.
      I think that Rocketboy did him in.
    1. chriszilla's Avatar
      chriszilla -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
      Chris, you can get it on Amazon for $4. It's worth a gamble. These movies are pretty entertaining and the chimp gets a LOT of screen time.
      Thanks for the heads-up. I had no idea it was so cheap! $3.74 for a double feature disc!