Nine Lives

Kevin Spacey turns into a cat.

It makes you wonder exactly how much House of Cards pays that would require Spacey to take this kind of role.

I don’t know, maybe he and the rest of the creative forces behind this new comedy (although the existential question is can you call a film a comedy that has no laughs?) thought they were making a modern day Shaggy Dog for cat lovers.

Kevin Spacey played Tom Brand, the owner of the Firebrand company, and Tom was focused on building the biggest building in the world.  He was focused on this project to the detriment of his family, ignoring calls from his wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and forgetting the birthday of his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman).

Of course, the movie is trying to set up Tom as an absentee father who only thinks of his daughter, yet it spends several scenes in a boardroom with Tom and his employees brainstorming what Tom could get for Rebecca’s birthday.

Rebecca had asked her father for a cat, and, though he hated cats, Tom decided to acquiesce to his daughters wishes and finds a cat shop called Purrkins, which includes a weird owner Mr. Perkins (Christopher Walken).  Perkins acted in a very mystical, all-knowing type manner, speaking to Tom about his life.

Tom gets called back to the building by lowlife business partner Ian (Mark Consuelos), who wants the Firebrand company to go public.  A freak lightning strike sent Tom and the cat over the side of the building, desperately hanging on.  Ian watched Tom fall from the building.  Amazingly, he did not fall all the way to the ground, but crashed through one of the windows.

When help arrived, Tom’s body was injured, but his consciousness was transferred into the cat.  So Tom could see what was happening to himself.  Tom ends up in a coma and the cat winds up with his family.

Now, I am not sure when this conscious swap happened.  Was it supposed to have happened with the lightning strike?  It couldn’t have because Tom (the person) spoke to Ian as he hung over the side of the building…after the lightning.  Was it crashing through the window?  Why would that do it?  The cat was inside a cage during this whole time as well.

I don’t think you are supposed to think about the how too hard.  That way, you would be just like the writers.

This was truly one of the worst times at the movies this year.  There were not even a few chuckles to be had in this weak script.  Even the top of the line cast could not make this thing interesting.

Some people might claim that the movie was made for children, as if that is an excuse to not be funny.  However, I am not sure how too many kids could enjoy this either.  There are a lot of scenes of boardrooms and meetings at the office… way more than you would expect.  I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t have been bored with all this.

Robbie Amell was also in this movie as Tom’s son David from his first marriage.  Tom always had negative things to say about his son, saying he wasn’t a man etc.  David was always looking for his father’s approval.  Probably my favorite character was Tom’s ex-wife Madison (Cheryl Hines) who didn’t even try to hide her contempt for Tom despite being good friends with Lara.

The special effects of this movie were horrendous.  It was so clearly green screen in so many instances and the cat did not look real for a good chunk of the film.  It was comparable at times to the level of special effects from The Shaggy Dog films.

However, there was an interesting idea in this heap that was just touched upon.  When Tom in cat form returned to the Purrkins cat shop, the other cats were talking to him indicating that this was not the first time that this kind of thing happened.  To me, that would have been a much more fascinating and dark take on the story.  Imagine that at one point all cats were once rotten people being punished for their deeds and Perkins was the person behind it.  The mind reels at the possible outcomes of that movie, but here, it is tossed aside like nothing.

This really was not a good film and you could easily get more laughs by watching a series of cat videos on YouTube (which the movie actually starts with).  This is not worth time as a family or is it something that makes you think.  In fact, it is not that enjoyable if you just shut off your mind.  It is a hairball of a movie.

0.9 stars


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