[Screen It]


(2000) (Kevin Zegers, Jamie Renee Smith) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
None Minor Moderate None Minor
Minor None None None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
None None None Mild Mild

Children's/Drama: A hockey-playing chimp turns around the fortunes of a losing team as well as that of a newly arrived brother and sister when he shows up in their small Canadian town.
Jack is a precocious chimpanzee living at San Diego's Pueblo University where he works with Dr. Kendall (LOMAX STUDY) and is cared for by Darren (RUSSELL FERRIER), his somewhat mentally handicapped keeper/janitor. Although Jack is a favorite among the students who study his behavior and is supposedly a genius, he's not working out that well in the study. That, along with the recognition of his failing health has Dr. Kendall arrange for Jack to be sent back to the El Simian Nature Preserve to be with his simian family.

Unfortunately, Dr. Kendall dies before that happens. When Darren then overhears Dean Peabody (OLIVER MUIRHEAD) announce his plans to sell Jack to another university for medical testing purposes, he secretly puts Jack onboard a train headed for El Simian, telling him to get off when he hears that stop being announced. It's a long trip, however, and Jack sleeps through the stop, ending up at the end of the line in Nelson, British Columbia.

There, California natives Steven Westover (KEVIN ZEGERS) and his deaf younger sister, Tara (JAMIE RENEE SMITH), are trying to adapt to their new surroundings. Although their parents, Mark (PHILIP GRANGER) and Susie (INGRID TESCH), are loving and supportive, Tara isn't happy because she thinks no one likes her due to her disability and Steven believes his hockey days are numbered.

That's because the local Junior B league team, the Nuggets, haven't won a game in a long time and the players have adopted a defeatist attitude. With their best player and team captain, Pete (AARON SMOLINSKI), sidelined with an injury, the goalie Magoo (RAY GALLETTI) needing glasses, and other players, such as Moose (SHANE VAJDA), being more interested in roughhousing than winning, there's little Coach Marlowe (RICK DUCOMMUN) can do with the team, much to the chagrin of stadium announcer Willy Drucker (DAVE THOMAS).

That is, until Jack shows up. First secretly staying with Tara, the chimp soon makes his way onto the ice and proves his abilities as both a skater and scorer. After Coach Marlowe convinces the board of directors that a hockey-playing chimp will draw in the crowds and thus generate increased revenue, Jack takes to the ice and not only leads the team to victory, but also helps Steven and Tara fit in with their new surroundings and classmates.

When news gets out about Jack, however, Dean Peabody sets out to reclaim the chimp, causing Steven, Tara and everyone else to come up with a plan to allow Jack to play in the championship game and prevent Peabody from selling him to another university.

Younger kids probably will, especially if they're into hockey or chimps, but older kids will probably avoid this film like the plague.
For some mild language.
  • KEVIN ZEGERS plays a teenager who isn't happy to have his hockey future diminished by the team of losers he must play with, but he keeps at them and helps them change their attitude. Beyond a few skirmishes with other players, he's a good kid.
  • JAMIE RENEE SMITH plays his younger sister who's deaf and fears that her new classmates don't like her because of that. When she meets Jack, however, her attitude improves and she ends as a happy girl.
  • OLIVER MUIRHEAD plays the cartoonish, university dean "villain" who's belligerent and wants Jack back.
  • RICK DUCOMMUN plays the Nuggets relaxed coach who doesn't exhibit much of an effort to help his team win or improve his players' attitudes.
  • RUSSELL FERRIER plays Jack's seemingly somewhat mentally handicapped keeper who arranges for the chimp's escape when he overhears the fate in store for him.
  • PHILIP GRANGER and INGRID TESCH play Steven and Tara's loving and supportive parents.
  • RAY GALLETTI plays the team's goalie who becomes much better once he starts wearing glasses.
  • AARON SMOLINSKI plays the team's captain and best player who's been feigning an injury all season long to avoid playing.
  • SHANE VAJDA plays one of the team's players who'd initially rather roughhouse with the others rather than try to play and win in a sportsmanlike way.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this PG-rated film. A few minor profanities and colorful phrases officially earn the film its rating, although there's only a handful of them. Some hockey style violence (along with a few moments of slapstick style material) is present during both practice and the matches (people being tripped or body-checked into the walls, etc.), with the perpetrators having bad attitudes for such purposeful and unsportsmanlike conduct.

    A few other bad attitudes are present, including those displaying by the film's cartoon-like "villain" who wishes to send the chimp to another university for medial testing (which doesn't occur). Beyond that, we also hear a teen urinating in the bathroom but don't see anything, an older professor dies of a heart attack (mostly off-camera and most younger kids probably won't realize what's happening and thus won't be disturbed by it), and a young girl deals with her deafness and trying to meet new friends.

    The rest of the film's remaining categories are void of any other major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you examine our detailed content listings more closely.

  • None.
  • From a distance, we partially see Steven standing at the toilet and hear him urinating into it, but don't see the urine stream.
  • Although he's helping him by doing so, Darren illegally helps Jack escape from the university.
  • The other Nugget players aren't nice to Steven at first (they trip him and knock him into the walls, etc.) and generally have bad, defeatist attitudes about the sport.
  • We learn that Pete has been feigning his injury all season long.
  • Dr. Peabody is portrayed as the bad guy who wants to sell Jack to another university for hepatitis testing.
  • Opposing fans in the stands throw items that hit Steven while he's trying to score a goal during a match.
  • Some neighborhood ladies show up an hour early (without any apologies for doing so) at Susie's for a neighborhood meeting.
  • Steven and the others ignore Peabody's court order to return Jack to him and arrange for the chimp to go back home to his animal preserve.
  • None.
  • A few police officers wear standard issue handguns in one scene.
  • Phrases: "Knuckleheads," "You guys suck," "We sucked tonight," "Losers," "Pantywaist" and "Holy Toledo."
  • Those who play hockey may be inclined to play a bit rougher after seeing the body checks and tripping, etc. that occurs here (if they haven't already seen it before).
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 1 damn, 1 hell and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Chimpanzees and whether they'd make good pets.
  • Tara's deafness and belief that her new classmates don't like her because of that.
  • Being the new kids in town and school, and trying to fit in as such.
  • Steven and Jack getting the Nuggets to play better and wishing to win.
  • Dr. Kendall dies of an apparent heart attack (we only see him feeling ill, then his glass of milk spilling and then hear the next day that he died - until that last bit, most kids probably won't know what's happened).
  • Hepatitis - Dr. Peabody wishes to sell Jack to another university where they'll do hepatitis testing on him (this never happens).
  • We see a bunch of the Nugget players piled in the middle of the rink, fighting (in standard hockey fashion). They then purposefully knock Steven down and then later smash him up against the rink wall.
  • A puck seems to knock Magoo unconscious when it hits his mask.
  • More standard hockey style violence occurs in a match (people being knocked down, etc.).
  • Peabody apparently and purposefully stomps down on a reporter's foot (we don't see the actual impact, but do see the motion and the reporter's pained reaction).
  • Opposing fans in the stands throw items that hit Steven while he's trying to score a goal during a match (and more fighting then breaks out among the players). One player then trips Steven and he then dives into the opposing players' box looking for a fight (and they seemingly pummel him behind a panel, but after they toss him back onto the ice, he doesn't seem any worse for the wear).
  • Peabody pushes/knocks students out of his way as he makes his way down a hallway.
  • Moose smashes into an opposing player after that guy earlier knocked Moose down.
  • A puck hits Magoo on his mask, knocking him out again.
  • A puck ricochets around the arena and then accidentally hits the stadium organ player on the head.
  • After an opposing player knocks one of the Nuggets aside during a game, Jack comes along and hits all of the opposing players on their heads (as they lean out from their box) with his hockey stick.
  • More hockey violence occurs during a match.

  • Reviewed November 2, 2000 / Posted November 3, 2000

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