Monkey Trouble

Monkey Trouble is a 1994 American comedy drama film directed by Franco Amurri and starring Thora Birch and Harvey Keitel.

Monkey Trouble
Monkey trouble.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFranco Amurri
Produced byMimi Polk
Heidi Rufus Isaacs
Written byFranco Amurri
Stu Drieger
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyLuciano Tovoli
Edited byRay Lovejoy
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • March 18, 1994 (1994-03-18)
Running time
96 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Box office$16,453,258[1]


Eva Gregory (Thora Birch) lives in Los Angeles with her mother Amy (Mimi Rogers), her brother Jack (Adrian and Julian Johnson), and her stepfather Tom (Christopher McDonald), a police lieutenant. Tom's daughter Tessa (Alison Elliott) occasionally babysits Eva and Jack. Eva wants a dog, but her stepfather is allergic to fur, she can't keep a pet at her dad's (Kevin Scannell) because he's a pilot & travels a lot, and her mother does not think she is responsible enough to take care of a pet.

A gypsy kleptomaniac vagabond Azro (Harvey Keitel), whose wife and son Mark (Adam LaVorgna) recently left him, lives off the grid with his intelligent Capuchin monkey Fingers (Finster). Azro is an angry man who blames Fingers for his wife and son leaving. He works as a hurdy gurdy-playing busker at Venice Beach, using Fingers' cuteness as a way to lure in tourists. Azro has taught Fingers how to pickpocket the audience members. A pair of Italian mafia members named Drake (Robert Miranda) and Charlie (Victor Argo) show up to Azro's act. They deduce Azro's scheme and proposition him with bigger & better opportunities. They ask him to join their crime syndicate, with Fingers using his pickpocket skills to burglarize homes of socialites. The men want to do a test run to see how Fingers will act and they drive to a random residence which just happens to be Eva's home. Fingers successfully steals various expensive items and Azro joins the crime group. Feeling ashamed of his actions later that night Fingers runs away from Azro.

The next day as Eva is walking home from school Fingers drops from a tree and latches himself onto Eva. She instantly becomes connected to him, and names him "Dodger", as he likes Eva's Dodgers baseball hat. Eva keeps the monkey a secret and hides him in her bedroom. She becomes more responsible with her chores and helps take care of her infant brother Jack, to whom she reveals Dodger. She researches information on his breed. When Eva has to leave for school, she leaves him in the care of a woman who runs a pet shop down the block, Annie (Jo Champa). Eva fibs that the monkey is a present for her mother. Meanwhile, Tom finds himself sneezing frequently, and initially thinks if it's a cold, but later thinks the apartment has a rat problem. Azro tries to find the monkey and the Italian mafia members consistently pester him over this.

Eva spends some weekends with her father and worries about how she can hide Dodger while she's away. However, Peter leaves a phone message that he's in Canada and can't have her over. She takes advantage of this circumstance to have a personal weekend alone with Dodger at her dad's empty house, and hides his message from her mother and stepfather. She has her best friend Katie (Remy Ryan), and Katie's mother Missy (Deborah White), drive her to her dad's house. During the trip, Eva secretly reveals Dodger to Katie. Once at her destination Eva realizes that she doesn't have a key to her dad's house. Dodger is able to break into the home. Yet once inside they realize that there isn't any food and Eva has not brought any money. She decides to busk for money with Dodger at Venice Beach boardwalk near Peter's house. While Eva is riding her bike to the boardwalk, Dodger and Azro spot each other, and without Eva being aware, Dodger jumps off her bike. Azro tries to catch Dodger, but he is caught by the mafia members who take him away from the scene. Dodger then secretly makes his way back to Eva's bike, and they start their performance with Dodger secretly pickpocketing everybody just as with when he was with Azro.

At a grocery store that evening, with Dodger hiding in Eva's backpack, he steals and hides food without Eva knowing. The management of the store, unaware there is a monkey in her backpack, assume Eva is shoplifting, but allows her to return the items without being punished. Eva is puzzled, opens her backpack in a back aisle of the store, and sees the items Dodger stole. When she returns home, she scolds him. Dodger then reveals all the items he has stolen since he met Eva. She realizes that he was taught how to pickpocket and break into buildings. She decides to teach him not to steal anymore.

Azro finds out about the supermarket incident, and a store manager gives him Peter's address. Eva is now preparing to return home and calls a taxi when Azro arrives at the house, making Eva frightened. She and Dodger run out of the house and escape in the taxi. Upon arrival home, Tom notices a stolen broach near Eva's foot, but Eva denies any knowledge of it, and withdraws to her room, after Tom mentions a baseball game, where the Dodgers are playing the Pirates. The next day, Azro finds out Dodger is at Annie's pet shop. Azro attacks Annie and steals Dodger back. Azro is aghast when he discovers that the monkey won't steal anymore during a meeting with the mafia members.

Meanwhile, Amy and Tom, who have been dealing with reports of stolen jewelry, discover more stolen property in Eva's room. They confront her about it and she tries to explain about how her hidden monkey must've been responsible for it, but they don't believe her. Things get worse when Peter stops by and reveals that he had been in Canada all weekend, which reveals that Eva has lied about the visit. Already heartbroken at the disappearance of her beloved pet she is also now upset that no one believes her. She runs away to look for Dodger after Katie calls and tells Eva that Dodger is at the park. She is accosted by Azro, who is furious about her teaching Dodger not to steal. Meanwhile, Jack ends up saying his first word, "monkey", revealing to Amy, Peter, and Tom that there really is a monkey in the house (Dodger escaped from Azro again, shortly after Eva ran off and snuck back into her bedroom) and that Eva had been telling the truth. They all go out, along with Tom's fellow police officers, to look for her. Dodger saves her, and Azro is arrested by Tom. The mafia members escape but are soon arrested themselves. Eva walks away happily with Dodger after she shows her mother that she is responsible and her stepfather discovers that he is no longer allergic to the fur. Mark tries taking Dodger back, but fails. Dodger ends up staying with Eva and living at her home.



  1. "Sold for Me" – The Aintree Boys
  2. "Posie" – The Aintree Boys
  3. "Who Gets the Loot" – Quo
  4. "VB Rap" – Gee Boyz
  5. "Girls" – Gee Boyz
  6. "Monkey Shines" – Robert J. Walsh


The film received mixed reviews from critics.[2][3][4]

Year-end listsEdit

Box officeEdit

The film performed poorly at the box office. It debuted at number 3 at the American box office,[6] dropping to seventh place the following week.[7][8]


  1. ^ Monkey Trouble at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Monkey Trouble : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2014-02-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Rainer, Peter (1994-03-18). "MOVIE REVIEW : Monkey Shines in 'Trouble'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (1994-03-18). "Movie Review - Monkey Trouble - Harvey Keitel in a Family Movie. Really". Retrieved 2014-02-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Hurley, John (December 30, 1994). "Movie Industry Hit Highs and Lows in '94". Staten Island Advance. p. D11.
  6. ^ Cerone, Daniel (1994-03-22). "Weekend Box Office : And the Winner Is . . . 'Naked Gun 33 1/3'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Fox, David J. (2000-07-05). "Oscar Winners Pick Up at the Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Fox, David J. (2003-10-14). "Weekend Box Office : 'D2' Scores in Its Opening Weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit