Written by: Gwyn Lurie, Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Dan Antoniazzi, Ben Shiffrin.
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld.
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken.
Running Time: 87 minutes.
A business magnate learns the lessons of fatherhood and marriage while he gets his soul trapped in the body of a cat.
The Litter Box
Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a narcissistic business tycoon who has little to no time for his family – second wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). He treats his son David (Robbie Amell) from his first marriage with no respect and has his whole company focused on building the tallest building in North America.
It’s Rebecca’s 11th birthday and Tom almost misses it while he’s at work. Deciding to make up for missing most of her birthday, Tom decides to get her a cat – something she always wanted. He dashes to the nearest pet store and meets Mr. Purrkins (Christopher Walken) who helps him pick out a cat for Rebecca.
On his way home, he gets into a verbal brawl with a devious colleague, which leads to a fall from his own building. He wakes up to realize that his mind is trapped in the body of a cat, while his real body is in comatose. Mr. Purrkins is the only one who can get him out of this fix, but he must follow Purrkins’s instructions and be a good cat to the family. Tom, a.k.a Mister Fuzzypants, now has to learn what it takes to be a virtuous father and husband.
From the Lazy Chair
Congratulations are in order if you have managed to get past the dreary plot. Director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black, RV) gives us a flick that will make us thank the short runtime. Mindless entertainment has worked quite well for Sonnenfeld in the past but this might just make him think twice about the genre (something that clearly wasn’t done during direction).
It took 5 writers to materialize this film, and with the stellar cast, one would think this was going to be a summer surprise for all. It isn’t quite so. The characters are dismally underwritten. There isn’t enough for the characters to feel for each other, let alone make you feel for them. Tom Brand is lost trying to balance his ego and emotions; Lara flutters between gold digger and ideal wife whereas the rest of the cast is cheesy.
The entire premise of the movie seems aimless. If the original intention was a moral science lesson for kids, it was lost trying to convince adults with shady business deals and castration humor. Even the soundtrack doesn’t do much just like rest of the technical aspects.
Casting: Not so purr-fect
Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, K-Pax) is at home here playing an egocentric fascist who reminds us of certain presidential candidates, but not even Spacey could save the film. Jennifer Garner (Elektra, 13 Going on 30) seemed uninterested for the most part while Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Supergirl), who played the daughter Rebecca, ended up overdoing most of her scenes.
The saving grace of the film, however, is Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Catch Me If You Can) who walks through his character with ease – a gig that he could have carried out with a blindfold. Robbie Amell (The DUFF, Max) continues to try and win audiences over as David while Mark Consuelos (The Great Raid, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) puts in a good shift as the conniving Ian Cox.
All in all
Mr. Fuzzypants was hardly what it was intended to be – funny, touching and aww-inspiring.
Sure, it has a few moments that may make kids roll off their chairs, but then again, the same could be attained with animal videos on social media. The makers lost their flow in trying to adapt the film for adults and the film in its entirety is exactly like the cat in it – lethargic.
Watch it if you’re: A cat lover OR have kids aged 2-5.