Yes, I really went and saw this and now I’m really going to review it.
For some reason, Kevin Spacey signed on to a movie where he would play a dad who is a workaholic and must live in the body of a cat until he learns how to be a better father, to both his wife (Jennifer Garner) and his daughter (Malina Weissman). While this is happening, his older son (Robbie Amell) must try to stop a takeover at his father’s business from a traitor (Mark Consuelos). We also have Cheryl Hines as his ex-wife and Christopher Walken as the mysterious pet shop owner who starts this whole chain of events.
Let me start with this: I thought this movie was going to be a trainwreck (and I love reviewing trainwrecks) but surprisingly this movie was fairly average. With names like Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner, I expected half-assed performances but everyone here gave 110%, especially Garner as she shares many scenes with this cat. And before Spacey is lost in the body of this cat, he gives a decent performance (although the plot is incredibly predictable from the start). Christopher Walken is his usual self but it totally works.
Because the actors and actresses were actually putting in effort and trying to pull this off, the movie had a surprising amount of heart. I actually teared up at a few parts. To be fair, I cry at most movies… but still. While you may see the resolution coming from a mile away, that didn’t detract from the emotional impact.
What didn’t work?
This movie, even though it has some decent performances and pulls at your heartstrings, is still a stupid movie and I’m not quite sure why any of these actors signed on for this. The weakest link was probably child star Malina Weissman. I don’t usually hold this against them but Melina here had a very distinct “child actor” vibe which rubbed me the wrong way in every scene she was in. Over-enunciation, exaggerated movements, all stuff straight from an acting lesson that takes you completely out of any heartfelt moments, which undercuts the potential of these emotional climaxes.
When I say this movie is stupid… here’s what I mean. Kevin Spacey voices this cat, that no one else can hear. He rips apart his home, goes on crazy adventures through the city, and is constantly peeing on things to prove a point. It’s a stupid movie that hopes to exploit kids laughing at stupid things. I don’t blame it for that, that’s what this movie was always intended to do. The amount of these slapstick moments is incredible. He gets drunk as a cat at one point and is constantly falling, flying, dropping, everywhere. It’s like a cartoon.
And it looks like a cartoon. The actual cat is in some scenes and the trainers did an exceptional job. But these crazy antics? They’re all computer effects and they look horrible. I don’t know how you’d make it look good though, when you’re trying to create a cat that is struggling to open a bourbon decanter.
This isn’t horrible. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Kids will laugh and parents might even find themselves enjoying some parts of it. Be warned though, it’s super cartoony, the effects are sloppy, and it’s generally predictable. Decent performances, while overdone to match the tone of the film, might make this film not a horrible experience for you.