HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:63
“Gibby” is another family oriented flick from Shout Factory’s less adult line up of works (aptly titled ShoutKids), and is the heartwarming tale of a cute little monkey who helps get a teenager girl out of her funk after dealing with the death of a parent. Or so it tries to be. While it may TRY to emulate the old Disney family friendly movies that came out of our childhood, but in reality it ends up being a cookie cutter film that is about as dry as the Mojave desert in July.
Katie (Shelby Lyons, daughter of writer Greg Lyons) is in a funk that neither her friends nor her father (played by a worn out looking Sean Patrick Flannery) can get her out of. Katie used to be a gymnastics champion, but after the death of her mother a year or so back she has faded out of the spotlight and prefers to mope about the house, devoid of her once infectious happiness. Both her friends, Diane and Cindy” can’t seem to get her out of this funk, even with the knowledge that the deliciously evil Alicia (Ysa Penarejo) is taking over this year as team captain.
Thinks start to turn around for Katie when her science teacher entrusts her with taking care of Gibby (Crsytal the monkey who is actually one of the main monkeys in the “Night at the Museum” series), the class monkey, for the summer. The little monkey is able to do what no human has been able to, and that is pull her spirits up and give Katie a new lease on life. Still, there are obstacles along the way. Such as her budding romance with Tommy (Peyton Meyer), the hottest guy in class, and Alicia’s insane jealousy at everything Katie does (even though Katie already appears to be whipped and beaten most of the movie). Then of course there is her obligatory rise to the top as she once again competes in her gymnastics tournament and regains the role as team captain from the mustache twirling Alicia.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76705[/img]I have a high tolerance for family friendly movies and give them a bit of slack compared to other reviewers. I grew up on the cheesiness of the 90s and 80s family movies like “Free Willy” and the like, so I’m well accustomed to sappy cheese. “Gibby” just takes the cake though, with horrible writing and flat acting that makes the one dimensional actors look pained and pinched at the eyes. Sean Patrick Flannery does the best at line delivery (which is kind of a complement for this film), but the guy looks strangely out of place, and so does Vivica Fox who shows up for a few minutes as his producer. What’s even weirder is the obvious toupee that Sean is wearing, that makes him look like a mulletless version of Billy Ray Cyrus (I do miss him with an Irish accent and assassinating gangsters in “Boondock Saints”). The rest of the cast just makes you want to wince, as the teenage actors and actresses have the cinematic skill of your average kid off the side of the street (which probably isn’t far from the truth).
There are some fun points to the movie, mainly dealing with Gibby, who is really the star of the film. The Capuchan’s antics make for a few honestly humorous moments, but I have to say that most of the humor in the film was from me laughing AT the screen more than anything. There’s a scene that so awful that it’s one of the parts of the movie. This is where Gibby invades a children’s birthday party and as all the kids and mom’s freak out she gets hit on the head by a whiffle bat (I say “hit” facetiously as it looks like the actress hit it softer than a feather duster), and Katie has to pray over the monkey to bring it back to life. Yes, I’m not lying, that actually happens.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76713[/img]“Gibby” comes to DVD (sadly not Blu-ray) with a serviceable looking encode. Strangely shot as 1.66:1 (or at least very closely resembling that aspect ratio), the family friendly movie tends to look a bit flat and desaturated a lot of the times. Skin tones look a bit chalky, and colors tend to be not as vivid as I was expecting for a modern day digital film. Still fine detail is pretty good, as you can see the lines on Katie’s leotard and the individual hairs and teeth stains on Gibby’s cute little body. Black levels maintain a healthy depth and shadow detail is impressive, despite the wonky contrast levels and skin tones.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76721[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track that Shout Factory put on the disc is what I would call a VERY front heavy sounding experience. Most of the time the dialog is the backbone of the track and 99% of the sounds (aside from the dialog) take place in the front sound stage. There’s a few moments where you hear the clapping at the gymnastics tournament, or the score flickering the back channels to life, but most of the time they tend to be dead silent. Same goes for the LFE channel. There’s a few moments where my amp flickered with activity, but most of the time I didn’t even see it spike at all. It’s a decent sounding mix and strangely seems to have been recorded REALLY low (I had to bump my receiver up from the normal 65 to a full 80, which almost never happens). However clarity is fine and the vocals are more than adequate.
• Monkeying Around With The Cast And Crew Of Gibby
• On The Red Carpet of the Gibby Premiere
• Crystal the Monkey’s Audition
• Music Video
• Commentary with Producer Kyle Kernan, Writer Greg Lyon, Star Shelby Lyon
“Gibby” tries so very hard to emulate the old family friendly films from the 60s and whatnot, but sadly seems to fall short at every step. There’s some cute humor with Gibby (and the monkey truly is adorable), but that can’t make up for stilted teenage dialog and a simplistic plot that is telegraphed a mile away, nay TWO miles away. I even tried to rewatch some old classic children’s films to see if I was just looking back in my past with rose colored glasses, but no, “Gibby” just isn’t THAT good of a family film. Audio and video are serviceable and Shout has done a great job at putting some nice extras on the disc, which is really kind of the disc’s only saving grace.
Starring: Crystal the monkey, Shannon Elizabeth, Peyton Meyer
Directed By: Phil Gorn
Written By: Grey Lyon
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Shout Factory
Runtime: 89 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Buy Gibby on DVD at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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