Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 18 August 2010
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Adults will appreciate the significance of Kitty’s name (Goldfinger, James Bond, etc.) but kids will tune into the talking pets and their secret agent agenda, complete with headquarters (cats and dogs separate, of course), gadgets, and dialogue.
It seems that the titular villainess, once a fluffy creature working for MEOWS, a cat/spy organization, loses her fur and apparently her mind on a dangerous assignment. The maverick baldy becomes obsessed with taking over the world, hatching a plot to destroy every dog and human in her path. There are secret blueprints, swiped technological components, purloined pieces of machinery, and stolen classified information that the hairless harridan has amassed to this end.
An interspecies team of cats and dogs is assembled to foil Kitty’s plans. The team consists of two dogs, rookie Diggs (James Marsden, voice), and veteran agent Butch (Nick Nolte. voice) and a cat from the MEOWS agency named Catherine (Christina Applegate, voice). The trio is charged with protecting a smart-aleck pigeon named Seamus (Katt Williams, voice) who may or may not know the whereabouts of Kitty’s diabolical blueprints.
Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), and her henchman Paws (Phil LaMarr, voice) base their operations out of a carnival, “owned” by a loopy magician named Chuck (Jack McBrayer). The only other human of note is Shane (Chris O’Donnell), once Diggs’ police partner, now pining for the dog he fears is lost.
Other voices are supplied by Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, J.K. Simmons, Wallace Shawn and Sir Roger Moore as good cat, Tab Lazenby – a shout out to actor George Lazenby’s Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Disbelief must be suspended like dress shirts on a dry cleaner’s revolving garment rack. Speaking of garments, some of the animals are made to wear outfits that can make them look like a puff of cotton candy or a bespectacled executive. If you can buy that, you’ll be much happier as you journey through the fur-bedecked exploits of the intrepid trio (plus pigeon).
Any appreciation for this film comes from the innumerable hours of manpower it must have taken the human crew to wrangle its four-legged stars; as required, they pose, run, and gesture on cue. Canine and feline lips move to words as if enunciation came as easily as a purr or whimper. That means lots of patience to get full frontal face shots long enough for a line of dialogue to be CGI’d onto their mouths. It also means dressing cats. Enough said.
Some of the sight gags are clever, for example, MEOWS, the cat-spy headquarters features a gumball machine full of living goldfish. A dog restroom in their secret hideaway, DOGS, is comprised of rows of fire hydrants. There’s a cat lady with a house full of stoned, catnip-high kitties, and a table full of poker-playing dogs. Cats hate water and dogs sniff each other (you know where). You get the idea.
The film is in 3D, but doesn’t need to be and you’ll lose nothing by seeing it without that feature. You won’t gain anything either; the film is simply another talking animal flick, mildly amusing, suitable for kids munching popcorn on a Saturday afternoon.
Director Brad Peyton’s feature debut is both a curiosity and a diversion, borrowing from Silence of the Lambs, Lethal Weapon, and the James Bond franchise among others; he keeps the points of reference recognizable for adults, but they’ll mean nothing to the kids. They only want to see wisecracking animals in pseudo-danger, able to plot, reason and betray like their clueless humans.
They won’t mind the CGI, the airborne animal agents and the borrowed gags. Older viewers (those over ten) may not be as content to watch the faux fly (pun intended), but at least the landing will be soft and fluffy.