Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cats & Dogs (2001)

I didn’t particularly care for Cats & Dogs. Maybe it has to do with live animals “talking” with their mouths forming words the way humans do. Or maybe it’s because their human co-stars look pretty dumb taking a back seat to animals who talk.
At any rate, I was asking myself early in the movie, “Why do they always have dogs portrayed as dumb, and cats portrayed as devious and smart?” Ah, who cares …
The cats used to be the lords of people, according to a brief history lesson given by Butch the Anatolian Shepherd Dog (voiced by Alec Baldwin) to Louis “Lou” the Beagle (Tobey Maguire). But then dogs helped the humans defeat the cats and were then admired and honored by humans ever since.
Lou was sent in error to the home of the Brodys – Professor Brody (Jeff Goldblum), his wife, Caroline (Elizabeth Perkins), and his son, Scott (Alexander Pollock), whose pet bloodhound Buddy was captured by cats and whisked away somewhere.
Professor Brody is an important man – he is working on an anti-allergy formula that would make humans immune from reacting to dog dander – so Action Plan Delta is initiated to replace Buddy. But instead of a highly trained Doberman, Lou is selected instead.
Mr. Tinkles the Persian (Sean Hayes) has a devious plan to steal and destroy the formula, and his attempts consume the rest of the movie. He is assisted by Calico the Exotic Shorthair (Jon Lovitz).But thanks to a special team sent by the dog leader, The Mastiff (Charlton Heston), that includes Butch, Lou, Ivy the Saluki (Susan Sarandon), Peek the Chinese Crested (Joe Pantoliano) and Sam the Old English Sheepdog (Michael Clarke Duncan), the plan is foiled.
There are a few nice moments of chuckling. When humans aren’t present, the dogs act like highly trained government professionals, but as soon as humans appear, they revert to doing doggie things – peeing on fire hydrants, digging in the dirt, fetching newspapers, and drinking from the toilet. Oh, and the doogie poop hidden in the Russian cat hairball is pretty clever.
Did I tell you there are ninja Siamese cats that can walk on ceilings? And that mice are recruited by the cats to carry allergies to humans?
Cats & Dogs was pretty much a success. Worldwide revenues topped $200 million against a budget of $60 million. It was followed by a 2010 sequel, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
Grade: C

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