When the athletic Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is tragically paralyzed in a freak jogging accident in George A. Romero’s masterful Monkey Shines, things – at first- seem hopeless for the injured Allan.
After the accident, Allan withdraws. He becomes a shell of his former lively self. He grows distant from his girlfriend. And most tricky of all, Allan hates his live-in the nurse, Maryanne – the only one who can actually physically assist Allan.
All is reversed, however, when Allan’s speed-freak med student buddy, Geoffrey (John Pankow, looking like Elvis Costello’s twin here), delivers him a surprise package in the form a cute little capuchin monkey, lovingly nicknamed “Ella”, after the famed jazz singer.
But what Geoffrey fails to tell Allan is that he’s been experimenting on Ella (and other monkeys, for that matter), injecting them with human brain tissue. Unbeknownst to even Geoffrey, the experiment ends up being somewhat successful, and in turn, Ella develops an almost psychic bond with Allan.
The relationship between man and monkey quickly goes beyond possessive and protective; soon it’s hard to tell where Allan ends and Ella begins. And that Ella, boy…she becomes one mean motherscratcher when pushed.
But ain’t she just so dang cute? Hard to stay mad at a furry face like that.
Who’s a good girl? Ella’s a good girl.