AWFJ Women On Film – “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” – Review by Susan Granger

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.