The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Cats and Dogs

I will never look at my kitties the same way again.

Where once I saw happy, fluffy, pretty, furry, wonderful ritty-ratties, I now see two conniving megalomaniacs bent on world domination.

And to think I built them a kitty jungle gym.

The film which has altered my reality to no end is the hot, hip, new, wannabe family-friendly, cgi-created menagerie known only as Cats & Dogs.

Cats & Dogs tells the tale of a bunch of cats who want to take over the world, and a bunch of dogs who try to stop them.

Actually, I may be simplifying it a bit.

Mr. Tinkles wants to take over the world. In order to do that, he must stop Dr. Brody from creating a formula that will cure all dog allergies in humans. Lou is a dog entrusted by Butch the dog to guard Dr. Brody from all cats. Lou has friends. Mr. Tinkles has minions. Claws are sharpened, coats groomed and the battle joined.

Shakespeare it is not.

The premise of this film is fantastic. The trailer featured Ninja Kitties. Most people in this world own either a cat or a dog, and so would naturally become personally involved in the ongoing battle (thought cat people may be feeling a little misrepresented). All the ingredients of a success were at the filmmakers' fingertips.

Sadly, they punted the ball.

Not completely, mind you. This is not a no-holds-barred disaster. But it could have been better. It should have been better. It begged to be better.

One of the true problems of the film was technical. The real live animals looked good. The cgi animals looked good. The animatronics animals looked... well... like the something out of a ride at Disneyland. But you always knew when you were watching which brand of animal. And when the scene called for a switch from live animal to cgi animal and back, you knew. It was obvious. It was almost as if somebody yelled "Cut! Bring in the elastic stunt pup!"

The result is an uneven, almost jarring experience. And the film suffers.

Also, for some reason, the story just didn't work. Cats and dogs are fighting for domination of the world through time immemorial and this time it's over a formula that will cure dog allergies in humans? Huh? So what? Once mankind is no longer allergic to dogs, then dogs will truly be Man's Best Friend. So what are they now? Man's Pretty Good Friend? Who's the best friend? Chickens?

The whole point of the movie is that cats are trying to overthrow man and take over the world, and dogs are trying to stop them. So dogs are already allied with mankind. So how will curing the allergies bring them closer together?

I know, I know. It's a kid's flick. It's about talking cats and talking dogs and how they each use advanced technology and so forth so why am I nit picking over something as pointless as the plot?

But there are entire sub-plots that have no meaning. For example. Susan Sarandon is the voice of a female dog, Ivy. She has no use, whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada. You can try to make a case that she gets Lou to loosen up, but he was never that tight to begin with. You could say she exposes Butch's soft side, but so what? That adds nothing to the movie. She's pointless!

And there's a big dog named Sam. He has no purpose. He's supposed to be the muscle dog or something, but he's never involved in any of the fights. He has no purpose. None. Zip. Nada.

Am I being unnaturally harsh? Cruel? Unfair?

It's what I do.

Plus, if this is a kid's flick, why is there so much simulated violence bestowed upon the animals? Sure, we never see an animal actually snuffed out, but we see them smack head-first into a tree, slammed into the wall by a metal door, and flung through the air to land with a thud in the middle of the road.

Wile E. Coyote can do that because he's a cartoon, but if you want us to believe that these animals are real, then you have to limit your level of slapstick, cartoon-like violence. Any stunt that would kill a real animal should probably not be portrayed on screen just because you're using a cgi creation that doesn't feel pain.

Just a thought.

There are actually actors in this movie as well. Human actors who play human people, and they are as colorful and interesting as a block of stale jarlsberg. Jeff Goldblum is the pivotal wacky scientist. Elizabeth Perkins is his pivotal wife. Some kid is their pivotal kid. Big deal. This may well be the worst performance in any of their careers; including the kid, who I think was in an Underoos commercial or something once.

For all of that, the movie is not a total loss. Mr. Tinkles (voiced by Sean Hayes) is hysterical. The cat scenes are the funniest, plain and simple. And it's not just because I'm now a cat person. He simply has more fun than the other animals. Just about any scene with Mr. Tinkles is worth seeing.

And since he's in a lot of the movie, there's a lot of worthwhile movie to be seen.

In the end, Cats & Dogs picks up 2 5/6 Babylons. Less if you're a cat person, because the kitties are really shown in a poor light. Good bet the director owns dogs.

Editor's Note:

Scatologically speaking, I can't believe there weren't any dogdoo jokes in this review- not any Mr. Tinkles jokes, even. I mean, come on- Mr. TINKLES!? That's so obvious!

Cats C& Dogs
Rated: PG
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman
Starring: The voice of Alec Baldwin, the voice of Tobey Maguire, the voice of Michael Clarke Duncan, the voice of Sean Hayes, the voice of Jon Lovitz, the voice of Joe Pantoliano, the voice of Susan Sarandon, the voice of Jeff Goldbulm, the rest of Jeff Goldblum, quite a lot of Elizabeth Perkins, not nearly enough Spuds Mackenzie.

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