MXP: Most Extreme Primate (2003)
“What kid doesn’t love a monkey that can snowboard?”
This movie stands out as one of the rare movies that is truly “G” rated
and can be enjoyable for kids, teens, parents, and whatever is left. That’s
a rare quality and very useful for those family video dates. A snowboarding
You gotta love it. My husband and I watched it - we have no kids, and we
both laughed out loud and enjoyed MXP.
Jack the Chimp accidentally gets separated from his “family” as they are
about to board a plane for a Mexican vacation paradise, and he ends up all
alone in snowy Colorado instead. Petey, the lonely new kid in town befriends
the lost chimp, and takes him home to stay until they can find his family.
Petey’s teenaged brother-dude is watching the house while Dad (Robby Benson)
is out of town on business.
Jack is also the star of MVP: Most Valuable Primate -the hockey movie and
MVP2: Most Vertical Primate, the skateboarding movie. Both movies use
similar formulas to this one - lost chimp is befriended by kid who needs a
friend, and then Jack shows off his newfound sports skills.
Jack settles right in, playing snowboard video games and eating cereal
with the boys. He prefers the luxury of Dad’s empty bed to the lumpy cot
from the garage that the boys set up for him, and secretly vacates his bed
each night for the big double bed, returning in the morning before he is
caught. Jack watches the boys snowboard videos, and pines to try
snowboarding. He finds a small board and practices some aerial moves jumping
on the bed with the board, then rides down the stairs in the house. What a
Pete’s brother Jay has his band practicing in the garage, and when the
guys see Jack in his Mexican serape, one says “Where’d you get the Mexi-Monkey
from?” Pete joins a snowboarding club at the local hill, but needs a partner
to race with in the boardercross, but all the kids are already matched up. I
bet you can see what’s coming. Turns out Jack is a natural at snowboarding,
using his hands to steer on the snow. The original “knuckle dragger.” Jack
catches on really fast, and you see him jump, grind a picnic table, ride a
little halfpipe, and just in general have fun doing the things we human
riders do. Bjorn Leines has his first major movie cameo as the pro helping
to run the contest.
I was interested to know how they got the chimp to do the tricks, and if
he really did do them. In the entertaining “Special Features” section of the
DVD, Jack’s trainers are interviewed (while Jack sits on their lap. Cute!)
One says that “chimps are 5 times more coordinated than humans” and that
Jack learned to snowboard and do his tricks in a few months. The director
says that there are no special effects. Everything you see Jack do, he
really did. Another part of the Special Features has the actors and crew
saying how much fun it was to work with Jack on this movie, prompting
snowboarding actress Nicole McKay to say “What kid doesn’t love a monkey
that can snowboard?”
Another of the special features is a short segment about PACT: People and
Chimps Together. That is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a
“retirement home and park” for chimps who have retired from acting. A
portion of the profits from this movies are being donated to PACT.
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