As an afternoon diversion for youngsters, there’s nothing really wrong with this live-action caper comedy; it’s just that there’s no originality. It’s “Spy Kids” with anthropomorphized household pets – and certainly not worth the 3-D price bump.
Inspired by 007 James Bond thrillers and featuring “Goldfinger” singer Shirley Bassey belting “Get the Party Started,” the opening title sequence is the best, establishing the continuing interspecies warfare, along with existence of secret organization called DOGS, devoted to keeping canines dominant as humankind’s best friend, as well as a rival spy group, MEOWS (Mousers Enforcing Our World Safety), which strives to regain for cats their long-lost supremacy by protecting humans.
They’re forced to band together when Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler), a MEOWS Sphinx agent, goes rogue, determined to wreak villainous revenge for the unfortunate loss of her hair, leaving mankind vulnerable. Facing this unprecedented threat for the felines, there’s feisty Russian Blue agent Catherine (voiced by Christina Applegate), along with incarcerated Mr. Tinkles (voiced by Sean Hayes, channeling Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter’s “Silence of the Lambs” purr), Calico (voiced by
Wallace Shawn) and their superior, Tab Lazenby (voiced by Roger Moore). Recruited for this mission is Diggs (voiced by James Marden), a dishonorably discharged San Francisco K-9 German Shepherd who’s “been in-and-out of kennels his entire life.” Then there’s Peek (voiced by Joe Pantoliano), a Chinese Crested; the grizzled mastiff Butch (voiced by Nick Nolte); Lou (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), a bespectacled Beagle; and Sam (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan), a shaggy Sheepdog; plus Seamus (Katt Williams), a jive-talking pigeon.
Working from Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich’s pop culture cliché-filled screenplay, presumably a sequel to “Cats & Dogs” (2001), Canadian director Brad Peyton juggles CGI with state-of-the-art puppetry, dropping James Bond references along the beaten path to amuse adults who have accompanied their children.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” is a frothy, critter-filled 5. Fur flies in this innocuous if rambunctious romp.