Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Whichever it is, the chances are that your furry friends know exactly what they need to do to get your way. Do you ever wonder if they're plotting something? If you've seen the original Cats & Dogs, of course, all will already have been revealed. If you're a newcomer, get ready to join feisty German Shepherd Diggs as he is swept into the world of covert pet intelligence.

Diggs (voiced by James Marsden) is a police dog, or at least he was. Bungling yet another operation because of his failure to be a team player, he's consigned to the kennels until a top secret canine spy ring decides it needs his help in tracking down feline terrorist Kitty Galore. Partnered by old hand Butch (Nick Nolte), he's ordered to track down skittish pigeon Seamus (Katt Williams) before the enemy get to him. But the dogs aren't the only ones feeling threatened by Kitty's evil schemes, and before long Diggs finds himself with an ally whom he can't decide whether to lick or chase up a tree.

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Right from the outset, with the stylish canine and feline silhouettes in an animated credit sequence that's just a little too fussy, and with Shirley Bassey booming out a rendition of Let's Get This Party Started (couldn't they have found a stronger song?), The Revenge Of Kitty Galore demonstrates its ambition and its failings. It's full of great ideas, clearly devised by people who are great fans of spy movies, but its various pastiches always fall just a little short of the mark. In trying so hard to fit the template, the film has lost its own sense of identity. No amount of flashy effects can cover the weakness of its story.

Bette Midler is clearly having the time of her life as Kitty Galore - it's the kind of role she might have been born to play had she ever looked the part. This is ironic considering Kitty's backstory, borrowed from The Joker (there's a lot of that here, including encounters with a strangely familiar feline Hannibal Lector and a distinctly unusual Terminator); a fall into a vat of hair remover has left her a social outcast. What the film fails to address, despite a convenient parallel with Diggs' own story, is the genuine unfairness of this. As we learn more about what Kitty has gone through it's hard not to feel some sympathy for her desire to enslave the world. As for our heroes, they never get fleshed out that much. Christina Applegate comfortably fills the slinky form of cat spy Catherine but fails to inject the quirkiness and personality for which she's usually known. Along with Marsden, she's hampered by a script that never deviates from formula.

This is one of those films that uses 3D in an immersive way rather than highlighting just one or two features. The result is that, too quickly, one adjusts to it, and the sense of being physically closer to the action fades. With effects that always feel too crowded and too rushed, and with an overabundance of halfhearted CGI, the action never really grips the way it should.

Despite these problems, there's the occasional in-joke that exactly hits the spot, and it's almost worth sitting through the whole 82 minutes for the few delightful moments of Roger Moore as black and white cat superspy Tab Lazenby. Even the eyebrows are perfect. If only the director had slowed down, taken a breath, and given us more like this, Cats & Dogs might have been much more fun all round.

Note: There are end credit sequences and also a post-credits sequence which young children may enjoy.

Reviewed on: 02 Aug 2010
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When an angry cat concocts a master plan to drive all dogs insane, dogs and cats must unite to stop her.
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Director: Brad Peyton

Writer: Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich

Starring: James Marsden, Christina Applegate, Nick Nolte, Katt Williams, Bette Midler, Roger Moore

Year: 2010

Runtime: 82 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US, Australia

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