Review: 'Cats' is for the dogs
If you're curious as a cat about the latest "Cats" movie adaptation, brace yourself...this one is purrrrrrrrrr-etty bad.
If you're a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous musical, "Cats," my first question is: What the hell is wrong with you? OK that's a bit harsh (even though it's fair). "Cats" the musical, is of course the fourth-longest running Broadway show of all-time, and has grossed nearly 4 billion dollars since debuting on Broadway in 1982...it's been revived and adapted all over the world since and is one of the most popular and recognizable musicals of all-time.
But "Cats," among theater snobs and aficionados, is not highly regarded as art...it's presence helped create Broadway as we know it as a major tourist destination in NYC and changed the face of the theater business, with gobs of money being thrown at marketing and productions after "Cats" leaning towards big-budget blockbusters. It's an easy show to thumb your nose at, but the mainstream audiences loved it, even while critics loathed it.
There's a great chance that Tom Hooper's "Cats" movie will follow the same pattern, but even average movie-goers should be warned: "Cats" was best left on the stage. This film version is a trippy, cheesy, pointless adaptation populated by pop stars like Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift, who are trying to dance and move next to professional dancers like Francesca Hayward and Robbie Fairchild, who are trying to act next to bona fide actors like Idris Elba, Ian McKellan and Dame Judi Dench. None of these mentioned performers, dancers or actors do all that well even in their respective lanes, let alone in the other areas. Yet, the film require they dabble in all three realms.
The result is a strange brew of painfully bad musical numbers, bad acting and stiff performances...a hairball stuck in the throat of Hollywood that is being spit out at us in a bit of intuitive counter-marketing to "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" this weekend.
For a long stretch - like, from the opening to the end credits - it was a mystery as to what the hell I was even watching...maybe "Cats" can get away on production value alone on stage, but on the big-screen its razor-thin plot was a major problem.
It's possible that fans of "Cats" on stage might be amused by "Cats" the movie, but for everyone else: Stay away. If you have nine lives or even just one, there are better ways to spend your time than watching Rebel Wilson dressed as a cat singing and dancing. "Cats" is for the dogs, but then again, even most dogs know to avoid the stinky stuff.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical.
Run Time: 1 hour 41 minutes.
Starring: Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Francesca Hayward, Ian McKellan, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, Robbie Fairchild, Ray Winstone.
Directed by Tom Hooper ("The Danish Girl," "Les Misérables," "The King's Speech").
"Cats" is in theaters on Friday, December 20th, 2019.
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