There's nothing wrong with Space Chimps. It's perfectly acceptable family entertainment with cute monkeys, the usual message of self-empowerment and the eye-popping animation we've come to take for granted.
But is that enough?
Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live voices protagonist Ham III, who's not interested in carrying on the legacy of his grandfather, the first simian astronaut. Even when he's shanghaied by NASA into exploring a strange new world, he's more interested in making time with astrochimp babe Luna (Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm).
The clever animators went to town on the aliens and their Candyland world, and even slackerized Ham's hair. Samberg's goofiness translates well, but apart from Patrick Breen as an ultra-low-key rocket scientist, the other actors don't have many opportunities to get laughs.
That's because the script is not particularly funny and the direction isn't crisp enough to pull off the slapstick. Most of the best jokes are aimed over kids' heads: "Why wasn't I born a rabbit or squirrel or art history major? No one expects great things from them."
There are 2001, David Bowie and psychotherapy references, but little to amuse and amaze the Barney crowd.
The film is suitable for all ages but there's probably not enough fuel beyond cute chimps in Candyland to achieve orbit for the kids.
Michael Ordona writes for the Los Angeles Times.
See more photos from Space Chimps at baltimoresun.com/spacechimps
(20th Century Fox) Starring the voices of Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines. Directed by Kirk De Micco. Rated G. Time 101 minutes.