Script makes ‘Cats & Dogs’ surprisingly entertaining
Bill Goodykoontz Gannett
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” is a clever, funny movie that will entertain kids and adults.
I KNOW. I was as surprised as anyone. The idea of adorable animals (well, Kitty herself is pretty ugly) “acting” out a movie sounds as dumb as pretty much every other movie that fits that description.
Except that this time, thanks to a script with enough funny references to other films and a few homegrown laughs of its own, it works, at times pretty well. It’s like a James Bond movie acted out by house pets (the title is a Bond reference; kids, ask your parents), and it’s better than the Timothy Dalton ones.
Having Roger Moore on hand as the voice of a cat only makes it all the better.
Granted, it’s not a “Toy Story” movie, and it’s not “Inception.” But the sequel to the 2001 “Cats & Dogs” is a good-enough movie to hold the attention of both your children and you, and as anyone who frequents children’s movies knows, that’s gold.
Diggs (voice of James Marsden) is a police dog. He means well, but he’s pretty much a disaster, because he can’t follow orders. Still, he’s fearless and he hates cats, which is enough to get him recruited by D.O.G., a secret organization of canines dedicated to the eternal war against cats (and mail carriers, etc.). He’s paired with a reluctant partner, Butch (Nick Nolte), to help track down Kitty Galore (Bette Midler, nicely evil). But it’ll take help, first from a pigeon names Seamus (Katt Williams) and then from – gasp! – a cat.
Catherine (Christina Applegate) is an agent working for P.A.W.S., the feline counterpart to D.O.G. It seems that Kitty was once a P.A.W.S. agent as well, but has gone rogue and has a plot to turn humans against dogs once and for all.
It’s all rather silly and somewhat sweet, as when the agents wander into a nice old cat lady’s house where the large brood is strung out on catnip.
Among the human actors who actually play humans, Chris O’Donnell plays Shane, Diggs’ partner on the police force, while Jack McBrayer plays the incompetent magician who owns Kitty, who can’t wait to be rid of him; after you see some of his tricks, you’ll understand why.
There are references aplenty, to “Silence of the Lambs” (with a Sean Hayes-voiced cat named Mr. Tinkles in the Hannibal Lecter role) to “Goldfinger” and more. Most will whiz right by the target audience of kids, and they won’t mind a bit. At least mom and dad can share a few laughs at the winks and nods.
Note: Like seemingly every other film released this summer, “Cats & Dogs” is available in 3-D. Plain old 2-D should work just fine.