Monkey Trouble tells the story of a young girl named Eva who desperately wants a puppy but ends up finding and falling in love with a pick pocket monkey instead. At the opening of the film, we meet sideshow performer, Azro (Harvey Keitel) and his sticky-fingered monkey on the Venice Boardwalk. A couple of mob thugs notice what the monkey is pick-pocketing unsuspecting members of the crowd. Later, they ask Azro to get his monkey to sneak into houses for them and take things. Next we meet Eva (Thora Birch), who comes home to her mother (Mimi Rogers), stepfather (Christopher McDonald), and two-year-old brother, Jack. Eva runs into her room while her mother speaks with her biological father, who has just brought her home, and begins drawing a picture. When her father comes to say goodbye, she shows him a haphazardly drawn picture of her with a puppy. He says she's not responsible enough and reminds her that her stepfather is allergic. Eva is not pleased. At that moment, we see the monkey from earlier breaking into Eva's house and taking valuables from her mother and stepfather's room. The monkey goes unnoticed by everyone but the toddler. That doesn't stop Eva from pestering her mother about getting a dog a day or so later. Her mother says the same thing her father does then turns around to play with the baby. Eva clearly feels ignored by her mother and stepfather. She seems to want affection a dog will give more than anything. Not long after, her mother and stepfather realize they've been robbed, and we learn her stepfather is a police detective.
We soon see, the sideshow performer, Azro at home with a note. His wife has left him and taken his kid. He is violent toward the monkey, saying it's his filthy fault his wife left him. The monkey runs away. The next day, while at school Eva's teacher tells her she needs to bring something for show and tell. Her friend suggests she bring her baby brother. She says she'd rather die than do that. On the way home from school, Eva walks through the park and the monkey, who'd been hiding in a tree, falls onto her shoulder. Eva immediately pretends like it's her pet. She goes the pet store she always stops in after school and asks the woman there what type of monkey it is and what to feed it. She also gets the woman to agree to watch the monkey for her during the daytime while she's at school. Eva sets out to hide the monkey from her family. Eva finally has something to bring to show and tell at school. Her teacher is impressed. One weekend, she is supposed to stay with her father but he calls to cancel. She lies to her mother and tells her she's taking a taxi to see her dad even though he's not at his house. She spends the weekend with the monkey she has since named Dodger. When she takes Dodger to Venice to get food, Azro, who's gotten another job from the mob thugs for his monkey spots her and the monkey and tries to get it back. He nearly succeeds but the monkey runs away and finds a way to get back into Eva's backpack as she rides innocently down the beach not knowing Dodger had almost been taken back. Later, Dodger shows Eva he's a performer by instantly charming tourists. Eva goes with it and soon she is making a ton of money, way more that Azro ever did with Dodger. But what Eva doesn't know is the monkey is picking everyone's pocket. At home, the monkey deposits everything he's taken onto a table before Eva. She freaks out and worries she will get arrested. Then Azro shows up at the door and she gets even more afraid. She slams the door on him and calls a taxi to take her home. Azro chases the taxi but when his camper comes loose, he gets stopped by the police and Eva escapes but unfortunately, when she gets back to her mother's neighborhood, the thugs appear and take the monkey.
Later, the monkey is reunited with Azro, but the thugs want an even bigger job done due to the delay in waiting for the monkey to show back up. When she comes home, her mother and stepfather have found all sorts of stolen items in her bedroom from Dodger. They don't know that Dodger has been there and think that Eva has stolen these things. When she tries to explain it was Dodger, they don't believe her. In fact, the stepfather notes that he would have been sneezing if a monkey had been there the whole time. Eva runs away. Her mother calls her father, and they try to figure out what to do about her. Her little brother babbles monkey over and over but they don't get what he is saying. When Eva sits at a bench at the park, Azro shows up. Apparently, the monkey is gone again. He wants it back. He grabs her by the shirt and begins taking her through the park. Dodger shows up and attacks him, allowing Eva to escape. Her stepfather and the police show up at the same time as the mob thugs, who are also looking for Azro and the monkey. The police converge with the bad guys at the same time Eva is spotted with Dodger. They finally believe her and realize who was responsible for the robberies. Before Eva and Dodger can go home happily ever after, Azro's son shows up and the monkey runs to him. Eva cries and walks away with her parents, thinking the monkey had a kid who loved him all along. When the boy abusively pulls on Dodger's leash, Dodger breaks away and runs back to Eva. In the closing scene, we see Eva bringing her baby brother Jack to show and tell., and is proud that he tried to tell her parents about the monkey to protect her. She no longer hates her brother and has a new pet after a whole lot of trouble.
Best part of story, including ending:
The script is a simple children's movie. I like the lesson it teaches kids about love and what is important in life. Through Eva's relationship with the monkey and her eventual acceptance of her brother, that comes through.
Best scene in story:
Eva and Dodger wow the crowd at Venice Beach. Eva goes from being a reluctant participant to a confident show-person in the span of just a few hours. It's a fun transition to watch.
Opinion about the main character:
Eva should be a lot more careful about running around the city by herself, particularly Venice. I did not like that she lied to her parents, but there would have been no movie with out the deceit. Overall, Eva's a loving person and a good pet owner.