From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore - D

Rated PG for animal action and humor, 82 minutes

Campy, dull "Cats and Dogs" sequel lacks bite

"Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" is a campy but sloppy kids movie with an all-star cast of voices. In spite of a few silly moments that only kids will find funny, this forgettable, predictable sequel to the 2001 hit film "Cats and Dogs" poops out early. The whole talking animal idea is an expensive one that has languished since "Babe" in the 1990s and usually only provides a lame excuse for movies like this to exist.

Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), a hairless Sphynx cat, is fed up with dogs and her fellow cat comrades, so she decides to take over the world and enslave the humans. Diggs (James Marsden), a German Shepherd police dog, and his mentor, Butch (Nick Nolte), are selected by the Dogs HQ spy force to stop her. Having no other option to stop Kitty Galore, the cats, led by secret agent Catherine (Christina Applegate) join forces with the dogs with additional support from a pigeon named Seamus (Kat Williams) to block Galore's evil scheme. In an unprecedented move, the cats and dogs work together bring down Galore before she takes over the world.

An over-the-top Midler as Kitty Galore and comedian Williams, as a pigeon spouting one-liners faster than he can fly, is the best reason to see the mildly enjoyable but callous "Cats and Dogs," which has little to with the first film. Butch and Lou, the main characters in that first film, are secondary in this one and are voiced by different actors, Nolte and Neil Patrick Harris, replacing Tobey Maguire and Alec Baldwin, respectively.

Mr. Tinkles, still voiced by "Will & Grace's" Sean Hayes, makes a cameo here in a couple of scenes and is the film's few genuinely funny moments, a direct homage to Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs." It also doesn't help that the first "Cats and Dogs" was 9 years ago, which in movie years (much like dog years) is an eternity, since the target audience will have no knowledge of the first film not to mention this film doesn't measure up in terms of originality or quality.

Throw a bunch of money at the screen ($150 million) and an all-star cast of voices, and you'd think "Cats and Dogs" would be better, but more money has been spent making those animals talk than writing a coherent script or clever direction. Marsden and Applegate, the central characters here, are as bland in voice as they are in person and are easily upstaged by Williams and Midler at every turn. Listen closely, and you'll also hear Michael Clarke Duncan, Roger Moore, Wallace Shawn and Joe Pantoliano. Chris O'Donnell, Fred Armisen and Jack MacBrayer are the few humans with any lines in the film, but they're all just a passing presence in this film full of animals.

Young ones will likely enjoy the canine and feline silliness (a couple of memorable ones: a cat in tank-crate-like contraption and the high on cat nip kitties) and "Cats and Dogs" is really for them. The best thing about the movie: it provides a brand new Looney Toons short featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, which provides more laughs in two very brief minutes than all 82 minutes of "Cats and Dogs."

Sloppy direction, bad editing and bland voice work in "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" all add up to a forgettable sequel that'll likely cough up a hair ball at the box-office.