B. Monkey (1998)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/22/12
Cast: Asia Argento, Jared Harris, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Have you ever seen a trailer for a movie where nearly a quarter of the clips they use aren't in the actual film and neither is the dialog? That's what "B. Monkey" is. The marketing wizards at Miramax clearly want you to think this is a tough and edgy crime drama action film, when it's really just a quirky love story. Beatrice (Asia Argento) is one of the best thieves in the business, but she's trying to go legit. Her way out is an unassuming school teacher named Alan (Jared Harris) who chances upon her at a local pub and falls hopelessly in love with her. But their love is doomed, as Beatrice's past keeps coming back to haunt her, along with jealous ex-lovers.

While it's a charming and well made film, it's also extremely tedious and boring as hell. They court, they make love, they fight, they break up, they make up, they get back together, over and over and over again. The whole thing seems tiresome and pointless, and even at the end Beatrice is still living a lie. At its core it's a romantic character study of two completely opposite people falling in love, and the complications that arise from two different worlds colliding. Perhaps it should have been called "I Love You Honey, But I Hate Your Friends" instead. I guess I don't have much patience or endurance when it comes to romantic movies.

Asia Argento delivers a riveting performance, even though it mostly boils down to her smoking an ungodly number of cigarettes, saying "fuck" in every other sentence, and getting naked. A lot. Thankfully, her sex scenes are tastefully done and don't steer the film into exploitation territory. Jared Harris plays a good straight man who's in way over his head, and his struggles and frustrations are all too real. Rupert Everett steals nearly every scene he's in as a pompous bi-sexual, and a very young Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays a psychotic powderkeg who is ready to explode. It's a good looking film that plays it safe and steady, but apart from the racy box art, it failed to keep my interest.