Ed (1996) — Friends’ Joey makes a monkey out of you for watching this

“I am going to spank that monkey!”

Justin’s rating: This is the Fifth Level of Hell

Justin’s review: Back when they were the superstars of the sitcom world for ten years, the cast of Friends had a dubious track record in the box office. Sure, Courtney Cox had her Scream empire, but she is forever tarred because of 3000 Miles To Graceland. Jennifer Aniston was in stinkers like Leprechaun. Lisa Kudrow shone in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, then fell flat on her face for Marci X. The ever-talented Matthew Perry made my day in The Whole Nine Yards but then he had to blaspheme celluloid by being in Serving Sara. Baboon-spokesperson David Schwimmer has elected to muddle in the middle of oblivion with stuff like The Pallbearer and (I kid you not) Breast Men.

But none, NONE of those five made the critical error that Matt LeBlanc did when he co-starred with a chimp in Ed. And not just a regular chimp, but a dude wearing a fake monkey suit. Ah, Bartleby. Ah, humanity.

Okay, I know we all make bad choices, and that there’s not one of us that doesn’t regret making those “experimental” college art films that involve slow-motion vomit, but this marks Mr. LeBlanc as the single dumbest human being, anywhere, in any time era. It’s as if he actively decided to skip the many years of coasting off his TV success and just went straight to his autumn years of desperately selling his body parts to the lowest bidder.

My friend, upon hearing that I elected to rent and watch Ed, laughed and told me that she doesn’t know anyone who actively looks for bad movies to watch. Not true, I countered, and besides… even badness can be goodness when it’s a monkey playing baseball and managing to upstage Matt LeBlanc in doing so. It’s downright patriotic. Let’s all stand and sing the Fake Monkey Anthem.

Ed is the story of Jack (LeBlanc), an extremely dull-witted farmboy (fetch me that pitcher, as you wish) who is “discovered” as a pitching prodigy out in the sticks. At least this backstory treats us to LeBlanc milking cows for a bit before sinking us hipdeep in artificial apes. Jack’s schtick is he’s an incredible pitcher with a fatal flaw: choking from pressure and being in movies degrading to all humankind. This makes him a terrible ballplayer for the farm team he plays for (coached by the lamented Jack Warner), and it’s obvious he needs a bit of help.

Jack’s help comes in the form of Ed, our man-in-a-monkey-suit to the rescue. And it’s amazing how hokey Ed looks, acts, and moves while he plays annoying tricks on Jack during the course of 90 minutes. The guy in Ed’s suit doesn’t even attempt to mimic a monkey; instead, Ed has the mannerisms and human expressions of a six-year-old.

In summary: Jack is a bad pitcher. Baseball team gets Ed as a mascot. Ed can play ball. Ed moves in with Jack. Ed annoys Jack. Jack turns down a date with cute neighbor, refusing her until he’s a better pitcher. Ed uses Jack’s bathroom. Everyone in this town is a moron. Ed eats like a slobbering toddler. Ed plays baseball. Ed becomes a star. Jack becomes a better pitcher. Ed drives in fast motion. Ed and Jack sleep in the same bed. Little girl hooks up her mom with Jack. Ed farts, a lot. Ed gets kidnapped. Love interest gets strangely worked up over the Ednapping (her emotionally charged speech has probably scarred this actress forever). Ed gets electrocuted, but unfortunately not fatally. Ed is rescued, but ends up in a hospital. Really, a hospital. Not a vet clinic. A hospital. Jack returns to play the championship game. Ed’s baseball glove revives Ed from a coma. Really. Ed returns to inspire Jack to win the game, The End.

Ed is a movie that’s built upon the shaky foundations of extreme slapstick, the likes of which is unseen outside of any Looney Tunes cartoon. Yeah, it’s not the subtle type of slapstick, if there is such a kind… no, it’s the “fart in your face for a full minute, then fall down in a pile of poop” variety. Yeah, obviously this movie was made and marketed toward small children who wouldn’t know — or really care — that the monkey’s not real and that the story is pathetic and predictable. They just want gross exaggeration and an ape sticking its tongue out and giving plenty of raspberries.

Me? I just want the time spent watching this back in my life. Wait, that’s not true. I’m glad I saw this. Some day, I tell my kids that their old man actually watched the worst movie Friends had to offer… and SURVIVED. And that will be a proud moment. And then I will be put in a home.

Didja notice?

  • Ack. A “Holy Torpedo, Batman” reference in the first minute.
  • Charlotte’s Web! And poor, poor Wilbur!
  • Little, little children should NOT be commenting on grown men’s cute butts! Her words, not mine!
  • Peeing in the same room together? I know that’s gotta be illegal. And THEN sleeping with a monkey?
  • An episode of Friends is on the TV in Jack’s apartment. Pathetic.

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