Dunston Checks In (1996)

dir. Ken Kwapis

Imagine Home Alone, but with all the charm and intelligence removed, and replaced instead with an orangutan running around a hotel. That’s, essentially, Dunston Checks In. Two boys live with their father in the hotel he runs, but oh no, a jewel thief and his sidekick orangutan arrive to cause mischief and mayhem. The score, direction and acting all scream “zany antics” throughout, but the movie’s hijinks are so perfunctory, so underwhelming, that it’s hard to imagine even very young children being entertained. The main little boy is obnoxious, and most of the adult performances aren’t much more bearable. Granted, the orangutan’s acting is genuinely impressive, but it’s massively undermined by the thought of what this poor thing had to go through in captivity, during training, and on set. There can surely be no worse fate for an endangered creature than being a part of Dunston Checks In.

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