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March 18, 1994

Monkey Trouble is a 1994 American comedy drama film directed by Franco Amurri and starring Thora Birch and Harvey Keitel.


Eva Gregory (Thora Birch) lives in Los Angeles with her mother Amy (Mimi Rogers), her brother Jack (Adrian and Julian Johnson), and her stepfather Tom (Christopher McDonald), a police lieutenant. Tom's daughter Tessa (Alison Elliott) occasionally babysits Eva and Jack. Eva wants a dog, but her mother does not think she is responsible enough to take care of a pet, her stepfather is allergic to fur, and she cannot keep the pet at her father Peter's (Kevin Scannell) house because he is a pilot and travels a lot.

A gypsy kleptomaniac Azro (Harvey Keitel), whose wife and son Mark (Adam LaVorgna) recently left him, is now a vagabond, and lives off the grid with his intelligent Capuchin monkey Fingers (Finster). Azro blames Fingers for his wife and son leaving. He works as a hurdy gurdy-playing busker at Venice Beach, using Fingers' cuteness as a way to lure in tourists. Azro has taught Fingers how to pickpocket the audience members. A pair of Italian mafia members named Drake (Robert Miranda) and Charlie (Victor Argo) show up to Azro's act. They deduce Azro's scheme, and proposition him to bigger and better opportunities. They ask him to join their crime syndicate, with Fingers using his pickpocket skills to burglarize homes of socialites. The men want to do a test run to see how Fingers will act, and they drive to a random residence, Eva's home. Fingers successfully steals various expensive items, and Azro joins the crime group. Feeling ashamed of his actions, later that night Fingers runs away from Azro.

The next day, as Eva is walking home from school, Fingers drops from a tree and latches himself onto Eva. She instantly becomes connected to him, and names him "Dodger", as he likes Eva's baseball cap which is labeled after the same named team. Eva keeps the monkey a secret and hides him in her bedroom. She becomes more responsible with her chores, and helps take care of her infant brother Jack, to whom she reveals Dodger. She researches information on his breed. When Eva has to leave for school, she leaves him in the care of a woman who runs a pet shop near her home, Annie (Jo Champa). Eva fibs that the monkey is a present for her mother. Azro tries to find the monkey, and the Italian mafia members pester him over this.

Eva spends some weekends with her father, and worries about how she can hide Dodger while she's away. However, Peter leaves a phone message that he's in Canada and can't have her over. She takes advantage of this circumstance to have a personal weekend alone with Dodger in her father's empty house, and hides his message from her mother and stepfather. She has her best friend Katie (Remy Ryan) and her mother Missy (Deborah White) drive her to her father's house. During the trip, Eva secretly reveals Dodger to Katie. Once there, Eva realizes that she doesn't have a key to her father's house. Dodger is able to break into the home. Once inside, they realize that there isn't any food and Eva has not brought any money. She decides to busk for money with Dodger at Venice Beach boardwalk near Peter's house. While Eva is riding her bike to the boardwalk, Dodger and Azro spot each other, and without Eva being aware, Dodger jumps off her bike. Azro tries to catch Dodger, but he is caught by the mafia members who take him away from the scene. Dodger then secretly makes his way back to Eva's bike, and they start their performance, with Dodger secretly pickpocketing everybody just as with when he was with Azro.

At a grocery store that evening, with Dodger hiding in Eva's backpack, he steals and hides food without Eva knowing. The management of the store, unaware there is a monkey in her backpack, assume Eva is shoplifting and allow her to return the items without being punished. Eva is puzzled, opens her backpack in a back aisle of the store, and sees the items Dodger stole. When she returns home, she scolds him. Dodger then reveals all the items he has stolen since he met Eva. She realizes that he was taught how to pickpocket and break into buildings. She decides to teach him not to steal anymore.

Azro finds out about the supermarket incident, and a store manager gives him Peter's address. Eva is now preparing to return home and calls a taxi. Azro arrives at the house, and Eva is scared of him. She and Dodger run out of the house and escape. The next day, Azro finds out Dodger is at Annie's pet shop. Azro attacks Annie and steals Dodger back. Azro is aghast when he discovers that the monkey won't steal anymore during a meeting with the mafia members.

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