This is a film that is unashamedly a kids movie and never tries to be anything more than that. I can’t rip this movie too much because it never sets out to be anything more than it ends up being. I found the idea of an underground war between cats and dogs really interesting though. It’s a fun idea, we all know that there dog people and cat people, and the two animals have historically been at odds with each other. It makes sense they would be fighting each other without letting any humans know.
The film stars Jeff Goldblum as Professor Brody, a scientist who is developing a formula to prevent dog allergies. This would be bad for cats everywhere so they are intent on stopping this allergy cure from reaching the market. The dogs are also interested in this cure, and have to stop the cats from ruining Goldblum’s work. The dogs infiltrate the Brody household by planting one of their agents as the family pet. Through a mix up at the dog shop, this new agent ends up being Lou the beagle (Tobey Maguire). Lou is not a trained secret agent so he needs the help of more experienced agents to stop the cats and let Brody finish his work. Lou is assisted by Butch the german shepherd (Alec Baldwin) who introduces Lou to the world of secret agent dogs. Michael Clarke Duncan (he’s dead now), Susan Sarandon and Joe Pantoliano also provide voices of the dog heroes.
The highlight of the film for me was Sean Hayes as the evil cat mastermind, Mr Tinkles. He is plotting to take over the world and cannot do so if Professor Brody’s cure exists. I really liked how the cat agents really meshed well with their breed. Siamese Cats turn up as a team of ninjas and there is a Russian blue Persian spy cat that is also very funny.
Look, this is not a great film, but I’m not the target audience. I feel like the most important thing with watching movies is your own expectations. If you go in expecting a film adults can enjoy, then Cats & Dogs probably isn’t for you. However, if you can appreciate this film for what it is, you might enjoy yourself. There is some fun to be had here in what is a very interesting idea. I mean, we’ve all expected at one time or another that cats and dogs are at war with one another. It’s quite funny to see that idea explored on screen.
I feel like I can’t really bag this movie too much. It’s clearly meant for the under-12 set, and I’m sure kids really love it. On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of kids movie that I wouldn’t want my kids to watch. I’m spoiled by classic Disney, Pixar, and better talking animal movies, so anything in the vein of Cats & Dogs would annoy me to death if I were forced to watch in on endless repeat.
Still, this movie wasn’t completely horrible. There are some cute jokes and Jeff Goldblum plays a kooky scientist, which is fun. It also reinforces my own preference for dogs over cats. The dogs are literally awesome spy-heros; the cats are evil masterminds. My only wish is that there were more terriers. Also fewer weird-looking smush faced cats, though I concede that they do look like nefarious masterminds.