Kevin Spacey is one of the finest actors of his generation. This is a guy who can pull off a complex dramatic role like his iconic uncredited part in Se7en and he can also perform in a comedic part in something like Horrible Bosses where his dramatic abilities are accented in a way to get laughs as well. Christopher Walken is another legendary actor who has made the most of his unique vocal tics along with being a fantastic actor over the years who has garnered awards and nominations for many of the roles he has portrayed. He is also someone who can easily go from drama to comedy without much of an effort. So then… WHY IN THE HELL WERE THEY BOTH IN THIS PUTRID AND AWFUL MOVIE!? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY.
The film centers around a major business tycoon named Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) who wants to build a really high skyscraper and in the process of being distracted by this, he misses his daughter’s birthday. To make up for that, he goes to a very strange pet shop run by Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken), who warns him that he better bring a cat directly to his daughter or suffer great consequences. Indeed, he decides to take an urgent business call instead of going to the birthday party and ends up falling off the roof and ending up in a coma. Somehow, this makes him become the cat and HIJINX AND ZANY ANTICS ENSUE.
The acting was almost inconsequential to the whole film. Kevin Spacey is totally cashing a paycheck here and it is blatantly obvious. When he is in his human form, he is fine but doesn’t really do anything other than play the title role like you expect him to do but when we just hear his voice as a cat, we just get a fairly bored delivery of crappy cat puns and one-liners. Jennifer Garner delivers another lifeless (and sometimes ridiculously over-the-top) performance as his wife. At times she is just bland and uninteresting but at other times she reacts to things in an incredibly stupid way (like a scene in which she is watching the cat attack someone for an extended period of time). Christopher Walken pretty much just walks in from time to time and acts like Christopher Walken. He’s been in some crap before like Gigli and Kangaroo Jack and much like those films, it just looks like he could not care one bit and simply walks in to perform and then leave.
Where to even begin? This was freakin’ awful. We get the most basic plot of all basic plots that rips off both Freaky Friday and The Shaggy Dog but THANKFULLY we do not see the cat in Spacey’s body because that probably would have pushed this into even worse territory. No, but we do get the cat landing in ridiculous positions that you would never see with a cat. The CGI is off-the-charts awful here. For starters, we get the cat itself which is definitely a CGI creation about 95% of the time. It falls off counters in ways that make no sense. It sails across curtains using its nails in slow-motion. In quite possibly the worst example of it, the cat dances with Spacey’s daughter in an attempt to convince her that he is indeed her father. Thankfully, we don’t see all of the latter scene. The simple shots of the city, the skydiving scenes and a scene in which a cat jumps off a roof are amazingly awful as well. It looks like the whole background was created using the most archaic version of visual effects software in existence.
The script was awful. How am I to believe that the family still thinks this is just a cat when the animal behaves NOTHING like a feline, SPELLS THINGS OUT USING YARN, and at one point even points his daughter to the correct answer while she’s doing her homework. Her reaction? “Hey, that IS the right answer. Oh well.” Also, this is a kids movie and we get at least 25 minutes or so until the cat transformation even happens. What do we get instead of that? Oh, we get chatter about buildings, financial discussions, board meetings and other things that children love to see in movies. I understand that things need to be built up in order to get to the premise but it takes an eternity to get there and I can only imagine the young audience sitting there with their head in their hands just waiting to get to the “good stuff.”
I am done. I can’t discuss this any further without exploding into a ball of fire. Don’t go see it. Don’t bring your kids. Just go see something else. Literally. Anything else.
ZERO (No Stars)
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)