DirectorKen Kwapis Initial DVD releaseMay 28, 2002 Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateJanuary 12, 1996 (1996-01-12) WriterJohn Hopkins (story), John Hopkins (screenplay), Bruce Graham (screenplay) CastJason Alexander (Robert Grant), Faye Dunaway (Mrs. Dubrow), Eric Lloyd (Kyle Grant), Rupert Everett (Lord Rutledge), Graham Sack (Brian Grant), Paul Reubens (Buck LaFarge) Similar moviesLet the Right One In, Three O'Clock High, Air Bud, Cyberbully, Duma, The Little Gangster
TaglineHe's about to turn a Five Star Hotel into a three ring circus.
Dunston checks in movie trailer 1996
Dunston Checks In is a 1996 American family comedy film starring Eric Lloyd, Graham Sack, Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway, Rupert Everett, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, and introducing Sam the Orangutan as Dunston. It was written by John Hopkins and Bruce Graham and directed by Ken Kwapis.
The story begins on Wednesday March 22, 1995. Lionel Spalding (Glenn Shadix) arrives at the five-star Majestic Hotel where he is accidentally drenched by an overflowing fountain due to a prank by Kyle (Eric Lloyd) and Brian (Graham Sack), much to the stress and frustration of the hotel manager and the boys' father Robert Grant (Jason Alexander). He is disappointed with the boys but they are guaranteed a vacation afterwards, only to be forced to delay the trip for a third time by the ruthless hotel owner, Elena Dubrow (Faye Dunaway), due to the upcoming Crystal Ball where one of the guests is revealed to be a critic from the Le Monde Traveller Organization who they hope will reward the Majestic with a sixth star.
At that moment, "Lord" Rutledge (Rupert Everett) a jewel thief (who is thought to be the critic by Mrs. Dubrow), arrives with an orangutan named Dunston, intending to steal the guests' jewelry. Dunston and his deceased brother Samson were both trained in thievery their entire lives. Now Dunston has been wanting to escape from Rutledge's poor treatment and life of crime ever since.
Meanwhile, Dunston flees from Rutledge and is later found by Kyle, who befriends the poor orangutan and promises to keep him safe. After realizing Dunston's presence, Robert calls for an animal control specialist named Buck LaFarge (Paul Reubens) to remove Dunston from the hotel. Rutledge searches the hotel for Dunston, and after locating him, ties Kyle up. Dunston and Kyle escape to the ballroom where the Crystal Ball is taking place, obtaining a picture of Rutledge, Dunston, and Samson from Rutledge's room. Kyle and Brian show the picture to their dad, and Robert is infuriated when Kyle says Rutledge tied him up. Brian and Kyle search for Dunston, avoiding LaFarge and Mrs. Dubrow, while Robert and Rutledge fight in the kitchen. Robert eventually manages to stand up to Mrs. Dubrow, but is fired in the process. However, it turns out that Lionel Spalding, who had been humiliated and injured by Dunston's antics, was the critic all along. As a result, he immediately reduces the Majestic to a one-star hotel. Rutledge is arrested and LaFarge apologizes to Dunston, who then punches him.
In the end, Robert, Kyle and Brian relocate to Bali, to manage a Majestic hotel there, and have even managed to keep Dunston as a pet. They invite Mr. Spalding over with a complementary room and meals to make up for all the trouble he experienced and assure him that nothing will go wrong this time. However, in the last scene, Dunston causes further trouble by dropping a large coconut which falls on his head.
Eric Lloyd as Kyle Grant
Graham Sack as Brian Grant
Jason Alexander as Robert Grant
Faye Dunaway as Elena Dubrow
Rupert Everett as Lord Rutledge
Paul Reubens as Buck LaFarge
Glenn Shadix as Lionel Spalding
Nathan Davis as Victor Dubrow
Jennifer Bassey as Angela Dellacroce
Bob Bergen as Special Vocal Effects
Frank Welker as Special Vocal Effects
Nathan Kunz as Dunston
The film had received overwhelming negative reviews from critics, and holds a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, the film received positive reviews from several professional film reviewers, Desson Howe and Rita Kempley of The Washington Post referred to the film by saying "It ain't half bad", and "Plucky, prank-filled family farce" respectively. On top of this, Warren Hayes, editor of Kestrel Magazine, described the movie as "Gut-wrenchingly funny" and "an unforgettable masterpiece that will be remembered for generations to come". Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times stated that Dunston Checks In "is a delightful and funny family film of exceptional high style", "as light as a souffle and just as delicious", and "plays like a tribute to the resourceful, unpretentious studio productions of the past", giving the film five out of five stars. According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune, "The cast is talented, the hide-and-seek action is silly, and the bond between a sweet little boy and the adorable ape is touching." Faye Dunaway's performance in the film and in The Chamber earned her a Stinkers Bad Movie Award nomination and a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress. The film was also nominated at the 18th Youth in Film Awards (Young Artist Awards) for Best Family Feature Film: Musical or Comedy, and Eric Lloyd for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Actor Age Ten or Under. The film was successful at the box office in India, where it was dubbed as Ek Bandar Hotel Ke Andar.
Dunston Checks In was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on VHS on May 28, 1996. It was released on DVD on May 28, 2002 and October 11, 2011.