Bette Midler, Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Nick Nolte, James Marsden, Joe Pantoliano DIRECTED BY
Brad Peyton SCREENPLAY
Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich MPAA RATING
Rated PG RUNNING TIME
82 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
Yet another in an increasingly long line of tossed together 3-D productions, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore may actually achieved the unique distinction of actually being better than its predecessor, the more simply named Cats & Dogs.
Cats & Dogs was, however, simply a dog. This second production isn't exactly an awful film, though its as much saved by its brevity as it is anything particularly decent about its filmmaking quality. For a film that is in 3-D, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore almost brings to mind M. Night's recent cinematic disaster, a film that practically defines the misuse of 3-D technology. Cats & Dogs 2, which I will now use because I'm tired of writing Kitty Galore, simply doesn't need 3-D technology and is none the better for having used it.
The story, such as it is, centers around two arch-rival secret organizations, P.A.W.S. , the feline counterpart to D.O.G. If I have to tell which one represents cats and which one represents dogs, then you may very well be the target audience for this film. Small children, those small enough not to be bothered by the disturbing lack of reality in the film's special effects, are undoubtedly the target audience for this film and it's unfortunately not the type of film to have much crossover into older siblings or parents.
Cats & Dogs riffs off of several detective type flicks including the Lethal Weapon films, Silence of the Lambs, The Terminator and a host of other action flicks that the kids won't understand and the parents aren't likely to care about. Diggs (James Marsden) is a motivated yet screwed up German Shepherd whose constant screw-ups finally land him in too much trouble and his human owner (Chris O'Donnell) can't bail him out. He ends up recruited by D.O.G. and teams up with Butch (Nick Nolte) to stop Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), affectionately known as Drowning Mona, from some sort of human takeover/world domination type lot.
Does it really matter?
There are a host of spies on both sides of the fence to fill out the ranks including Catherine (Christina Applegate), a kitty superspy, the serial killer Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), a home-office beagle (Neil Patrick Harris), Wallace Shawn's scaredy plus a homing pigeon (Katt Williams) and a few other characters tossed in, as well.
For the majority of moviegoers, the big debate over whether or not to create 3-D technology for a film in post-production is an irrelevant one. After all, if we're being honest, aren't so deeply immersed in cinema that they can tell the difference. It's filmmakers, critics and other industry professionals who are growing weary of the over-use of the latest technology.
While the framework here is weak, both story and characters are paper thin, director Brad Peyton keeps the 82-minute production moving along at a decent clip, the vocal work is strong and warm-hearted across the board and the film does manage to entertain more consistently than its predecessor. There's nothing even remotely brilliant about this film, but its simplicity is rather endearing, at least in spots, and if one settles for the 2-D version of the film then you can be reasonably assured of putting a smile on your small child's face.