Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," the sequel to the 2001 "Cats & Dogs," is a mildly entertaining live-action caper-comedy in which humans play secondary, if not entirely irrelevant, roles in the rich and secretive world occupied by the critters.
 
Though shot in 3-D, the technical aspects are just passable, but not more. The main reasons to see this breezy, short (81 minutes) feature is the comeback performance of Bette Midler, as the nasty Kitty Galore, as well some pop-culture vignettes that make allusions to the James Bond series and other phenoms.
 
The first "Cats & Dogs" grossed over $200 million worldwide with its story on interspecies animosity, and the sequel, despite the anticipated negative reviews, should do even better at the box-office, in large part due to the gimmicky concept and 3D technology.
 
Director Brad Peyton and writers Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich want to offer something more sophisticated and amusing for mature viewers (the parents), though they know that their primary target audience consists of very young kids.
 
In this madcap of a movie, Canadian helmer Peyton does a passable job of juggling animals (real and CGI-created), humans, and technology, creating a bizarre world in which there's thin line between ordinary life (as we know it) and sheer madness. (There are lots of legs in the picture, mixing two-legged and four-legged creatures).
If I am kinder to this less-than-successful and witty picture, it's because it reminded me of a fantasy I had as an animal-loving boy. The filmmakers try to imagine what critters do when their human owners are not around. Taking this premise to an extreme, even grotesque point, and at a breakneck pacing, they dwell on the animals' secret lives, showing them using jet packs and rocket cars, among other activities.
"Cats & Dogs" appeals to our basic curiosity, wondering what cats and dogs really do all day—other than eat, sleep, and react to our affection. This may be the reason why candid clips of animals, caught in the act of being themselves, are so popular on the Internet

In this tale, co-penned by Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich, CGI-enhanced canines and felines decide to have a temporary truce in order to fight a common enemy. The cats and dogs join forces when Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), an ex-MEOWS operative turned rogue after losing her fur, threatens to scramble the minds of canines.

 
The critters are anthropomorphic combatants, armed with high-tech weaponry, while locked in an old battle. Borrowing ideas from the series "Spy Kids," the canines maintain a global spy network to prevent felines from re-establishing their dominance over humankind. 
 
To be sure, not all cats want to rule the world. There's a feline-centric superspy network known as MEOWS (Mousers Enforcing Our World Safety), whose aim is to protect the humans. The closest the film comes to having a human protag is Chris O'Donnell, as a San Francisco cop, whose character exists only to offer some back story for his four-legged partner on the K-9 corps, Diggs (James Marsden), a German Shepherd whose repeated screw-ups lead to dishonorable discharge.
 
Diggs is sprung from the kennel and recruited for secret agency job by Butch (Nick Nolte), a grizzled op who needs help in tracking Kitty Galore. But neither canine wish to cooperate with Catherine (Christina Applegate), a feisty MEOWS agent who's also on Kitty's trail.
 
Face with no choice, the long-time enemies become reluctant allies, and also accept Seamus, a jive-talking pigeon (Katt Williams), when ordered by their superiors, beagle Lou (Neil Patrick Harris) and suave spymaster Tab Lazenby (Roger Moore).
 
Speaking of Roger Moore, you can cal the picture a James Bond spoofy homage with pets. The association is brought early on, when "Goldfinger" Shirley Bassey belts out a version of "Get the Party Started" during a flashy, Bond-style credits.
 
Other satirical touches, sort of asides from the main plot, are welcome. Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), the villain of the first film, is now sort of a Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs," with Hayes mimicking Anthony Hopkins.
 
Nonetheless, too much effort and money have gone into making these "Cats and Dogs" look and behave goofy. As an action adventure, "Cats & Dogs" has energy to spare (jet-pack chases, explosions, fights, flights, underground tunnels), rushing quickly from one set-piece to another, but in its detached approach, it lacks genuine warmth and charm. 
End Note
 
The movie will be shown with a newly produced short cartoon, "Coyote Falls," featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
 

Cast
 
Shane – Chris O'Donnell
Chuck – Jack McBrayer
Freidrich – Fred Armisen
Crazy Carlito – Paul Rodriguez

Voices:

Diggs – James Marsden
Butch – Nick Nolte
Catherine – Christina Applegate
Seamus – Katt Williams
Kitty Galore – Bette Midler
Lou – Neil Patrick Harris
Mr. Tinkles – Sean Hayes
Calico – Wallace Shawn
Tab Lazenby – Roger Moore
Peek – Joe Pantoliano
Sam – Michael Clarke Duncan
 
Credits
 
A Warner Bros. release presented in associated with Village Roadshow Pictures of a Mad Chance/Polymorphic Pictures production.
Produced by Andrew Lazar, Polly Johnsen.
Executive producers, Brent O'Connor, Bruce Berman.
Co-producer, Miri Yoon.
Directed by Brad Peyton.
Screenplay, Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich, based on characters created by John Requa, Glen Ficarra.
Camera, Steven Poster.
Editor, Julie Rogers.
Music, Christopher Lennertz; music supervisor, Julianne Jordan.
Production designer, Rusty Smith; art director, Sandra Tanaka; set decorator, Carol Lavallee.
Costume designer, Tish Monaghan.
Sound, Eric Batut; supervising sound editor/sound designer, Christopher S. Aud.
Visual effects supervisors, Blair Clark, Richard R. Hoover.
Animatronics effects supervisor, Dave Barclay.
Associate producer, Debbi Bossi.
Assistant director, Pete Whyte.
Second unit director, Greg Michael; second unit camera, Brian Pearson; Casting, Kristy Carlson.
 
MPAA Rating: PG.
Running time: 81 Minutes.