Gigi & Nate Review

Films about animals can be hit or miss. Over the years the animal genre has had some huge hits such as Benji, Old Yeller, Black Stallion,  Free Willy, and so many more. There is something about this genre that pulls on the heartstrings. The emotional attachment of the said animal in the film gets audiences right in the feels. As someone who has had a dog and cat, I can understand this attachment. Most people have a pet of some kind at home so these types of films like Gigi & Nate are very relatable to the masses.  Especially if it’s a true story.

Nate (Charlie Rowe) is your average high school kid out enjoying himself as most do on the Fourth of July when he inadvertently gets sick after he jumps off of a presapiss into a lake in Texas. His mother (Marcia Gay Harden) rushes him to a hospital. The Texas hospital can’t help him so he is flown to Nashville where he’s from to get some better medical assistance. It turns out that the jump into the water caused him to get meningitis.  Once he finally recovers he is paralyzed.

His parents do everything they can for him including building him an apartment in their backyard and making their home completely handicap accessible. He’s just not accepting the situation he’s in very well. So they see if getting him a service animal will help him feel better. They end up meeting up with a woman who runs a rescue. Carolyn Albon (Mishel Prada) introduces them to a little capuchin monkey named Gigi. The two hit it off and they went home together.

Like most families the family featured in this film is bigger than normal which means the cast is bigger as well. John Belushi plays the dad who is just over the entire situation involving his son and the monkey, the lead character has a couple of sisters as well, and a grandmother played by (Diane Ladd) Of course there is the activist lady played to a tee by Welker White. The ensemble are all competent in their supporting roles in the film. They just don’t add anything special to it.

The director Nick Hamm and the writer David Hudgins don’t do anything special with this film. It’s pretty simple from a concept point of view. There have been plenty of films about animal rescues or animal friendship stories that are better than this one. It doesn’t mean this is a bad film. It’s just not great. The animal activist subplot is meant to get the audience to cry and feel bad. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s just been done to death before. This entire idea has been done so many times it’s almost like a cookie-cutter film. 

The little monkey in the film is cute and once she comes on screen for the first time you are bound to fall in love with her. That’s the key to this film. This could be just an average man and animal story but that monkey brings an element of cuteness to the movie that you can’t help but love. The other aspects of Gigi & Nate are pretty normal for this type of film. Nothing special here. One truly emotional moment doesn’t a film make but ill let the audience determine that for themselves. I wasn’t blown away by this story that much even though I did like the little monkey.

2 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

In theaters

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