By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –
And breathe…Okay, here we go with this one.
Tom Brand (Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey) is an egotistical billionaire tycoon who is working on building the tallest skyscraper in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s going be yooge! It’s going to be terrific! All the best people are working on it. It will be the biggest, greatest building the world has ever seen!
Tom is so preoccupied with this project that he has little time for his family. Even more so once he learns that a competing developer is working on another skyscraper that will be even taller and more terrific than his.
Tom’s family consists of his long-suffering second wife Lara (the long-suffering Jennifer Garner in yet another thankless “mom” role), their tween daughter (Malina Weissman- who looks a lot like Garner, as the woman next to me mentioned no less than four times), as well as ex-wife Madison (scene-stealer Cheryl Hines), whose defining character trait is that she’s a lush (and who made me jealous with every sip as I was forced to experience this movie stone-cold sober), and their 28-year-old son David (Robbie Amell, turning in a performance way better than this thing deserves), who also has trouble connecting with this father, despite working for him.
Of course garbage father Tom forgets all about Rebecca’s upcoming eleventh birthday. He scrambles to figure out a last minute gift but he already knows what she wants. Can you guess?
Yes, she wants a cat. This child LOVES cats. All of her clothes even have cats on them. But Tom does not love cats. Nope, not one bit. We learn this during an opening voice-over when he tells all the kids in the audience that cats don’t care whether you live or die.
Still, he reluctantly goes to a back alley pet store run by the same guy that gave fellow garbage father Adam Sandler that remote control in Click (Christopher Walken on autopilot set to Medium Wacky). He selects a cat named Mr. Fuzzypants and is en route to Rebecca’s birthday party when he receives a call from dastardly business associate Ian Cox (Mark Consuelos), who asks him to meet on top of that [second] biggest penis building. Ian is a bad, bad man who wants to overthrow Tom as the head of the company.
The meeting escalates into an argument and there’s suddenly a lightning storm. Tom, along with Mr. Fuzzypants, ends up falling over the side of the building. Somehow they are able to crash through a window to a below floor. The impact leaves Tom in a coma, but not before his consciousness is transferred into Mr. Fuzzypants. Let the zany hi-jinks ensue!
Will this mystical switcheroo teach Tom how to be a better father and husband before it’s too late and he has to stay a cat forever? Will Ian convince Lara to pull the plug on Tom (family fun!) so he can take over the company? What about the penis building?
The movie opens with some funny internet cat videos. Be thankful for them, for this is the only time you will laugh at all.
What else? Let me think…
Oh, Lil’ Bub makes a cameo!
Look at that face! Look at it!
Grumpy Cat, however, was all fuck this shit. She learned her lesson about starring in crappy movies.
I have to admit. I did this to myself. This was my #1 pick for this month. As many of you boozers know by now, I love bad movies. I love bad movies like Taylor Swift loves playing a victim. I can’t get enough of them.
Despite the greatest talking cat film already existing, I was excited for this. It had all the ingredients for an awesomely horrible masterpiece. But the soufflé went flat. And then it burned. And then it fell on the floor and nobody bothered to clean it up.
It’s an utter disappointment. It’s never intentionally funny (unless you like cat puns, which, that lady at my screening- one of the other three people there- really did).
Is there a “Hang in there” gag? You betcha!
More importantly, it’s never unintentionally funny.
It’s just there.
And it’s weird. Director Barry Sonnenfel, has proven with the Addams Family and Men in Black films that he can do weird well. Yeah, not so much in this case. Maybe a cat allergy forced him to take a Benadryl and he fell asleep. (Note to Barry Sonnefeld- there’s your excuse. Go with that. You’re welcome.)
This movie is a liar. A LIAR! “Kevin Spacey as a talking cat.” Ha! Ready for a spoiler? The cat never actually talks. As in moves its mouth and words come out. Nope! We the audience as well as Christopher Walken’s cat magical cat whisperer can hear Mr. Fuzzypants’ thoughts, but sorry, that doesn’t count as talking.
Point goes to Duffy and his gaping pitch black hell maw, because at least they made an effort.
The cat’s mouth doesn’t even move when he’s meowing, and my god is there a lot of meowing. And it doesn’t sound like a cat meowing. It sounds like a person making obnoxious MEEEEEOOOOWING noises. Over and over and over.
But don’t think for a minute that means there aren’t any creepy computer-generated cat antics because oh boy are there ever! If you think a CG cat jumping, sticking to a wall, and then slowly sliding down is hi-larious, just wait until you see it happen twelve more times!
There have been many body-switching movies over the years (all of which are a more worthwhile watch than this one, by the way). It’s a pretty simple formula: a little magic, body-switcheroo, someone learns a lesson, switch-back, the end. Nine Lives manages to screw this up.
The magic involved in the Tom Brand-Mr. Fuzzypants transformation is never explained (was it the lightning? Was it Christopher Walken? Did Christopher Walken make the lighting?) Then there are the mechanics of the transferal of human souls into cats: What happens to the cat’s spirit? Are cats just soulless vessels for awful people?
Forget the magic stuff, this movie can’t even get basic things right. Like how a family reacts when a loved one is in a coma (apparently they just go about their normal lives). Or rudimentary cat care (it takes a day before Jennifer Garner’s character bothers feeding Mr. Fuzzypants and setting up the litter box). The title doesn’t even make any damn sense as the nine lives are never brought up aside from a throwaway mention at the end. Maybe it means a person dies eight times inside while viewing the movie?
Beer five is for the number of screenwriters Nine Lives has. That’s right, it took five people to come up with this mess. It makes sense, because it feels like five separate movies spliced together into one.
One of them is a business movie right out of the 80s which takes up most of the running time because kids just love corporate power struggles. I tell ya, nothing holds a child’s interest like a good boardroom scene about shareholders’ bids!
Know what else is fun for the whole family?
Sit down, all of you.
I shit you not, the big climactic finale of Nine Lives involves a character presumably contemplating taking their own life by jumping off that ridiculous building.
Who approved this? Did they not screen this movie for test audiences? Maybe they did and the audiences were either 1) asleep 2) on their phones or 3) drunk by the last twenty minutes and just didn’t notice A SUICIDE PLOTLINE IN A CHILDREN’S MOVIE.
There are also fun themes like infidelity, alcoholism, and oh yeah, MURDER!
This movie is fascinating in that while watching it a person wonders how the hell it happened. Other than that, it’s pretty much a waste of time, never reaching the level of being entertaining enough to be awesomely bad. It’s the bad kind of bad movie. And did I mention it’s weird as hell?
Nine Lives (2016) Drinking Game
Suggested drink: 50-year-old Scotch out of a saucer
Take a Drink: every time someone says “Mr. Fuzzypants”
Take a Drink: whenever anyone in the movie does, including Mr. Fuzzypants
Take a Drink: for every occurrence of the word “shareholder”
Take a Drink: every time a photo of George W. Bush is defaced (topical!)
Do a Shot: at every stupid cat pun
Do a Shot: obligatory Christopher Walken dance scene
Do a Shot: SUICIDE!?!
Take a… ah screw it, just keep drinking.