Movie executives must hate children. At the very least, they think of children as easy marks, willing to swallow whatever mediocrity is placed in front of them. Making children’s films has got to be the best racket in the world. You make a bad movie, wait a couple years, and then go ahead and reuse all the hacky jokes that everyone — except the children that get tricked into seeing your movie — has already heard a thousand times.
Watching Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (in glorious 3-D!), I really did try to imagine how I would have felt about the film if I were 5-years-old. I will freely admit I liked garbage like this when I was child. And, certainly, the movie is innocent — and possibly means well; so it may not be the worst film ever shoved down children’s throats. Where the Cats & Dogs becomes offensive is in its dearth of creativity and humor.
The plot: As we all know, cats and dogs are mortal enemies (since the beginning of time!), and in this reality they can talk and drive little cars and make creepy facial expressions. They never stop making creepy facial expressions, because animating a real animal’s face has always been creepy, never cute or funny. (With the exception of the Wallace Shawn cat. What a beautifully pronounced lisp.)
Anyway, all of canine-kind is being threatened by the insidious Kitty Galore — a play on Pussy Galore that I’m sure most 5-year-olds are sure to catch. Driving home the many James Bond references is Ms. Galore’s henchman, Paws. Here’s a good example of the backward logic that drives C&D: In the Bond film, the man was named Jaws because of his metal teeth. The thing is Paws also has metal teeth. Jaws wasn’t named Hands, so why is Paws named Paws instead of Jaws?
Back to the movie: Action and jokes and kitty litter and more jokes about dogs and so on and so on. The thing is, it’s been a mere few hours since I’ve seen the film, and thankfully most of it has slipped from my memory.
I will say the decision to cast Nick Nolte as the old police dog was a logical one, but also a poor one. I don’t know if you’ve heard the man lately, but he sounds like he’s been gargling with broken glass. I could only picture Nolte, face beet-red, in the recording studio doing his takes standing next to a pile of cigarette butts and half a fifth of Jack Daniels.
But children loves them some Nolte. – One out of four stars
Starring: The voices of James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate
Director: Brad Peyton
Rated: PG for animal action and humor