I took one look at this poster and I just freakin’ knew it would bite the big one. From the poster, I thought I had this movie pegged. It’s about a man who gets trapped in the body of a cat. Probably has to learn some lesson about life and family and whatnot, you know, exactly how these stories go. I hadn’t seen a single trailer for it. Usually, I make it a point to do that before seeing a movie, but I honestly thought this movie wasn’t coming out until later. On the plus side, I didn’t have to worry about paying for it and I probably owe my manager at work a great big hug for giving me a fifteen dollar Fandango gift card (for being a hard-working employee; totally unnecessary, but totally appreciative), which was more than enough to see this. To make matters even scarier, IMDb gave the movie a 3.3/10 (as of 8/6/2016) and RottenTomatoes gave it a 5% (as of 8/6/2016). Wow… I was a dead man walking. What really scared me out of my wits was the sheer star power. Kevin Spacey? Jennifer Garner? Christopher Walken? Oh my goodness, this was going to be brutal because I love these actors. When I found that out, I had to know who was in the director’s chair. I looked it up and I read, “Barry Sonnenfeld.” Hmm. Where have I heard that name before? I looked up him… and my heart sank with dread. Sonnenfeld is the same guy that directed the Men in Black movies! I was whimpering, folks. I was not looking forward to it. Thank god for it being kinda free. Well… here we go. This is my honest opinion of NINE LIVES.
Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a successful business man who is nearing completion of the tallest building in North America, but he has a competitor who is about to build one even bigger. This puts Tom on edge and figuring out how to best them leads to him being away from his wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman) even more than usual, causing a strain on their relationships. This comes at a particularly bad time as Rebecca’s birthday is coming up and she wants a cat, even though Tom hates cats. Desperate to prove that he cares, he gets her a cat from a mysterious cat whisperer named Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken). Unable to tear himself from work yet again, Tom is called to the building by his ambitious employee Ian Cox (Mark Consuelos), and as a storm hits, Tom is flung from the building, and allowed to fall as Ian refuses to save him so he can have the company to himself. But instead of falling to his death, he is flung into his building unconscious. To make matters worse, he wakes up inside the cat he got for Rebecca, while his body is in a coma. Now Tom must learn the value of family while also preventing his company from being sold off.
Yeah, those ratings sound about right. This is about as phoned in as a kids movie can get. Wanna know what’s even sadder? I was right. I predicted this movie entirely from its generic poster! You know a movie is bad when that happens.
Alright, so let’s get to it. Spacey gives probably the most, “I don’t give a good god hairy rats butt that I’m in this turd of a movie” performance that I’ve ever seen. He’s clearly here for an easy paycheck for a movie that no one will see. There is so little effort to the delivery of any line that he gives, it’s actually kind of hilarious. But what’s not so hilarious is seeing Garner actually putting in effort. I kept thinking to myself, “Honey, it’s okay. You don’t have to try so hard. This isn’t the big-break role that you deserve.” I love Garner, but… this is such a lame script, it almost doesn’t seem worth the effort. The same also kind of goes for young Weissman. This is the same girl that played young Supergirl in the TV show SUPERGIRL, for those of you trying to pinpoint where you might have seen her from. She’s actually not a bad actress, but again, the script has her be such a cardboard cutout of every other kid character that you’ve ever seen in other movies incredibly similar, so there’s nothing about her that stands out. I really hope this movie stays under the radar and she gets a real role in the future. And Walken… ha, Walken actually kind of looks like he’s having fun with not giving a crap. I’m just imagining Spacey and Walken having drinks before the first day of shooting together, hammered, thanking their drinks for their A-list status to be able to be in crap films and for it to not matter. “For the kids,” I bet.
Beyond the actors, there’s a little too many scenes featuring a CGI cat. And to be honest, a lot of it is a little uncomfortable to watch. Here’s what I mean. There’s this bit where Tom as the cat is launching himself against this wall that’s supposed to open. But this goes on for a good while and all you’re watching is this cat getting hurt trying to open a secret door. Unless you get a hilariously sick pleasure from seeing cats in pain, then this isn’t very funny to watch. Cartoons get away with it because these characters are just drawings. We know there’s no one getting harmed. But this CGI cat is clearly meant to fool kids into believing it’s there. To make matters worse, it plays like a cartoon as well. You know, the bit where the character gets launched into a wall, freezes there to let the audience laugh at their pain, then slides down the wall. This is live action, and clearly not a world meant to be taken seriously, but not meant to be treated like a cartoon. So a scene like this doesn’t fit. This applies to a boat load of background shots. Chunks of this movie are clearly shot in a studio with a big ole’ green screen behind them. Was the budget for this movie spread so thin that the makers literally couldn’t get the actors to an actual rooftop?
I honestly don’t even really know what else to talk about. It’s such a paint-by-numbers movie that I can’t bring myself to talk about it in more detail. Alright, maybe it baffled me that at the end, the movie got an applause from the audience and regular laughs, but man… I just couldn’t. I won’t say this movie offended me, it’s just a bland and forgettable kids movie. So maybe that’s its one saving grace: mercifully short and obscure enough to be easily forgotten.
My honest rating: 2/5.
- DON’T THINK TWICE
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RFTpObS95U
Possible upcoming review:
- HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGj3AogT9EM