However skilled they might be in a particular field, artists who never stray from what made them famous will eventually stagnate. Imagine a world in which Dylan never had the courage to go electric, or one in which Picasso never moved beyond his blue period—a world without Highway 61 Revisited or Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. This sort of mindset will best prepare viewers for the latest film from Robert and Anne Vince, the production team behind the Air Bud series. As shocking as it might first seem, the Vinces have left the world of sports-loving dogs, boldly entering the world of a sports-loving chimpanzee named Jack. His idyllic existence disrupted after the death of his kindly academic keeper, and fearing for his life after a white-suited dean (Oliver Muirhead) threatens to send him to a medical lab, Jack boards a train for his childhood home, a wildlife refuge that inexplicably outfits its animals in pants. But an ill-timed nap disrupts Jack's plans, dumping him in a remote Canadian town badly in need of some chimp-induced antics. Setting up shop in an abandoned treehouse, Jack befriends a deaf girl and her hockey-playing brother; joining the latter's team of downcast, underperforming scrubs, Jack helps it win its first game in recent memory. Though this violation of hockey tradition initially stirs some debate, Jack is eventually allowed to remain on the team. "Wait a minute," former SCTV star Dave Thomas, playing a commentator, excitedly announces. "The monkey is back. Oh, the crowd is going bananas!" And with good reason. By film's end, Jack has healed the psychic wounds of the long-suffering community, in the process proving himself its Most Valuable Primate indeed. But does MVP mark a bold step forward for the Vinces, or merely a teasing sashay to the side? Which better represents their future: MVP or the concurrently available, Vince-penned Air Bud: World Pup? Only time will tell.
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