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IN SHORT: oo. eee. ooo AH. AH. [Rated G. 81 minutes]
Quoting a totally unrelated song is just a hint that Space Chimps is fun. IF you're really small enough to like silly stuff about monkey astronauts on alien planets.
Before astronaut Alan Shepherd went riding an Atlas rocket up into the suborbital heavens (John Glenn was the first to orbit) , the American space program sent monkeys to do a man's job in the great beyond. It wasn't that the monkeys were more capable than the humans, no. It was because the early rockets had a real bad habit of blowing up on the launch pad. There's ten minutes or so of these catastrophes on line here. But the real story, and this is probably the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question somewhere, is of the first "american" in space. That would be a monkey named Ham. The dangers were real. The flight was successful. Ham lived out his life as a very real hero.
So, in the big screen fictional world of the animated feature Space Chimps, a similar dangerous situation has transpired. The Infinity Space Probe, sent to investigate a mysterious wormhole, should have made a left at Albequerque. [sorry, that's a reference to a different studio star...] Sucked into the hole, it emerges on the far side of the galaxy. Planet Malgore, to be exact, where it trashes the hut of would be despot Zartog (Jeff Daniels). Zartog, prone to toss the fearful multitude of his planet into a silvery lake of Fresnord -- it then hardens to form a living statue -- somehow figures out hot to control the probe. The "people" tremble and build him a nice new palace.
Our domestic space authority being hounded by a nasty, cost conscious Senator (Stanley Tucci), is determined to retrieve the probe. It's a dangerous mission and potentially doomed to failure. So instead of astronauts, the authority goes back to the basics and sets up a chimpanzee crew. As a publicity stunt (don't think too hard, folks) the grandson of the original Ham is tracked to a traveling circus. There, Ham III (Andy Samberg) is shot out of a cannon and flies through the air with the greatest of ease. He usually misses on the way back down, but he's a resilient chimp. "III" doesn't want to leave the circus. Ringmaster (Kenan Thompson) isn't all that thrilled to lose his main attraction but, hey, things happen to change his mind.
Teamed with fellow apes Luna (Cheryl Hines) and Titan (Patrick Warburton), Ham spends his down time hitting on Luna and making Titan's life as miserable as possible. Then the ship flies through the wormhole and is lost to all back on good ol' planet earth. Even worse, on Planet Malgore, Luna and Ham get separated from Titan, which leads to a great shlep through canyons filled with the biggest monsters and the tiniest natives, specifically one nicknamed Kilowatt (Kristin Chenoweth) because of its glowing head.
That's about all we're going to go into specifics about. There is more than enough of a story to keep adults upright while their pre-tween kidlets bounce up and down in their seats. We saw it with our own two, very nearsighted eyes, folks.
And we don't give the usual dollar rating to G rated films. If you have kidlets aged through the tween stage, you all will have a great time. If you don't, Space Chimps is a good sit.