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What to know: Heartwarming, entertaining, funny, and adorable all wrapped up into one great movie.
Recommended age 5-16
86 minutes
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Bananas!!! This little monkey will keep you smiling as you watch my favorite actress Crystal, use her natural monkey talents to help a young girl find her true heart's desire. This film is heartwarming, entertaining, funny, and adorable all wrapped up into one great movie.

One of my favorite things about this film is that no CGI is used. This film is very down to earth and it is good to get a break from all the amazing graphics taking over movie theaters today. There are ups and downs just like in real life and that is what makes this film endearing and believable.

The acting in this is believable. I love all the different characters in this film, but my absolute favorite character is Gibby (Crystal, a capuchin monkey). She is hysterical, cute and there when you need her. Crystal has made many monkey appearances, but this is one of her best performances I have seen. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the set of We Bought a Zoo and Gibby. She is very talkative, loves to stick her tongue out and has a boyfriend that she hangs out with when she is not in the spotlight. Tom Gunderson, her trainer is like an overly protective father who loves her and takes wonderful care of this high maintenance little diva. Oh, our little monkey is not a hugger, but she likes to high five.

My other favorite character is Katie (Shelby Lyon). She is lonely and depressed at first because of the death of her mother and then she meets Gibby and her whole world changes. Then, she is fun, happy and ready for anything. Her acting is wonderful and I had the pleasure of meeting her as well. Shelby Lyon is very bubbly, cute and fun to hang out with. She also loves doing gymnastics. She showed me a couple of her awesome skills and I was quite impressed. I do wish that they had more gymnastic scenes in this film. Tommy (Peyton Meyer) is a friend of Katie's and has a crush on her but she doesn't know it. A great friendship blooms when he volunteers to watch Crystal and help Katie over the summer with her new pet monkey. He is as cute in a person as he is in this movie.

I have lots of favorite scenes including Gibby (Crystal the monkey) sneaking into a birthday party and being mistaken for a dangerous animal. Gibby is hit on the head by a crazy mother who is scared of the giant one foot, seven inch monkey. This is one of my favorite scenes because it really touched my heart and I found myself crying. Can you say cameo appearance? Look carefully and you will see me there in a pink shirt and a zebra dress. The lovely Vivica A. Fox also joins in on the monkey fun.

I love the fact that all the girls did their own gymnastic stunts. They are very talented and a great group of young women to hang out with. Phil Gorn, the director, is brave working with both kids and monkeys. Congratulations on making an adorable movie.

I recommend this film for kids as young as five who will love the adorable Crystal. Teenagers will relate to the means girls and the young love crushing going on. This is a fantastic family-friendly film for the entire family to sit back and enjoy and appropriate for ages 5 to 16. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 monkeying around stars.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B., age 11 1/2

Gibby is a fun to watch film. Children as well as adults can enjoy watching the great acting by the cast along with Gibby, the monkey. The film shows great friendship development. While there is an element of a "mean girl," Katie is able to handle it. The film takes you on a journey with Katie as she works through her depression and loneliness after the death of her mother. When she is selected to care for Gibby, it brings her back to her love of gymnastics and renewing friendships. The characters display the behaviors of teenagers, seeking popularity and looking for love. Gibby is entertaining, funny and tugs at your heart. You learn facts about a capuchin monkey and watch the young actors develop friendships and create believable and real life actions. The story is well done with actions, concepts and dialogue that are part of real life. This film could inspire children to engage in gymnastics. It is very real and down to earth, using real people and a very talented monkey - Crystal who definitely steals the show. There is no CGI and the special features are excellent. It offers facts from Gibby's trainer who talks about the challenges of working with animals and humans. I recommend it for ages 5 to 15. Reviewed by Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
A young girl finds an unlikely and uplifting friendship with an adorable monkey in this charming, light-hearted film. Katie has lost interest in her school, her friends, and gymnastics following the loss of her mother. But her outlook changes in the summer when she is asked to monkey sit Gibby, her science teacher's Capuchin monkey. Taking care of the monkey challenges Katie and reorders her life in a big way, and Gibby's happy-go-lucky personality renews Katie's zest for life. Gibby helps her with gymnastics, renewing friendships (including finding a potential boyfriend) and overcoming her nemesis, a mean girl who is out to beat Katie at everything.

Rising star Shelby Lyon heads up an all-star cast, including Peyton Meyer (Girl Meets World), Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie), Sean Patrick Flanery (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day) and, of course, Crystal the Monkey (Night At The Museum).

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