Staging a fight between a grouchy quadriplegic and a murderous monkey isn’t, in theory, a bad idea. George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines, however, is so clumsy that its climactic fight between wheelchair-bound Allan (Jason Beghe) and helper monkey Ella is simply its last instance of slipping on the proverbial cinematic banana peel. After Allan is hit by a truck while out on his morning job, Geoffrey (John Pankow) – a drug-using scientist engaged in dubious medical research – provides his friend with Ella, a monkey he’s been pumping full of human brain shavings in trials designed to make the primate smarter. Instead, Ella becomes a supernaturally intelligent creature who eventually forms some sort of psychic mind meld with her master, which affords Allan the ability to “see” out of Ella’s eyes but also leads the monkey to act on Allan’s increasingly murderous subconscious thoughts. None of this makes a lick of sense, but it’s not illogicality that dooms Romero’s thriller but rather torpid pacing and a distinct lack of scares. The film is meant to be a cautionary tale about the dangers (and immorality) of experimenting on animals, yet the primary thing going for Monkey Shines – which also features Stanley Tucci as Allan’s doctor, whose bedside manner consists of stealing his patient’s girlfriend – is its frank portrayal of handicapped love, epitomized by a sex scene between Allan and monkey trainer Melanie (Kate McNeil) in which the immobile stud proves that all one needs to satisfy a woman is a fully operational tongue.