Friday, April 1, 2011

Gorillas Are Just Like People!: "Abe & Bruno" (2006)

Whenever a film bills itself as a "heartwarming comedy," it is rarely a good sign.

Abe (Brad J. Sergi) lives with a giant five hundred pound gorilla named Bruno (guy in monkey suit). Abe resides on the outskirts of a small California town, scaring away the locals and defining the term "curmudgeon" since no one knows about Bruno and Abe aims to keep it that way. Abe thinks of Bruno as his son, and has taught him some amazing things. Bruno can use the toilet! Bruno can work the microwave! Bruno can make his own bed! Bruno can comprehend and react to every single word and gesture Abe uses!

Bruno has also figured out the television remote control and has fallen in monkey love with animal show host Sarah (Blythe Metz...Bruno has good taste in homo sapien females). Ironic in a "heartwarming" tale that Abe has a "heart attack," even telling Bruno to call 911! Bruno panics and goes into town to find Abe's girlfriend Edie (Candice Rose), who also knows nothing of Bruno. The town (all twelve extras, er, citizens) is thrown into an uproar, but Bruno manages to lead Sheriff Kilgore (Kevin Scott Allen) to a still breathing Abe before escaping into the nearby woods.

Some media, and Sarah, descend on the town as Kilgore makes plans to shoot to kill Bruno. Sergi, as Abe, does his best acting in the hospital scenes (unconscious) as Sarah tries to persuade the stereotypical stupid gun toting rednecks that casting aspersions about gorillas is narrow minded and dangerous.

Done on the cheap, "Abe & Bruno" misleads starting with the DVD cover. The three children on the cover are in very small supporting roles. While billing itself as a comedy, there are zero laughs. Its heartwarming tone left me cold, and everything about it felt dumbed down and simplistic, from the terrible pacing and plot to little things like Abe's annoying one sided conversations with Bruno or Sarah's questionable internet search engine.

Everything I know about gorillas I learned from "Gorillas in the Mist" and the "King Kong" films, meaning very little, but I found myself rolling my eyes every time Sarah came up with a new factoid about primates. The bloodthirsty gun toting sheriff and moronic deputies are caricatures of the lowest sort, not characters, yet I kept getting lectured about misinformation and the problems of jumping to the wrong conclusions about Bruno.
A minor film you have never heard of, "Abe & Bruno" features some pretty scenery (California and Metz), but nothing else. Keep your stinking hands off this damned dirty movie.  (*) out of five stars.