Review: Nine Lives

ninelives
There’s a notoriety with Kevin Spacey’s cat-transformation venture… I can see why. Can I please have those hours back?

The CEO of a major business is ignoring his wife and daughter as he pursues having the tallest building in the city with a competitor. As a result, a strange cat shop owner curses him by transforming him into a cat, hoping the experience will make him rediscover his humanity.

Comedies are always risky to me, they are extremely high or miss and these days most of them rely on toilet humour to get any laughs… and Nine Lives was a film I would happily have skipped.

Nine Lives is the worst film I have seen this year.

Like a 90s goofball family comedy but without any of the sympathy or heart that could make it a guilty pleasure, Nine Lives is a vacuous void of insipid direction, mirthless slapstick and valueless storytelling. It is hard to believe that director Barry Sonnenfeld also directed all of the Men in Black movies!
Kevin Spacey’s character Tom Brand is an all-work-no-play sort of guy, and his business is collapsing due to his obsession with making his tower taller than the other guys (no, that isn’t a pun on sexual insecurity, at least the film doesn’t run with that) and his son tries to show him the error of his ways, only for a competitor to take over the business…
… due to Spacey’s character taking an appalling green-screen nosedive off the top of the tower (with the cat) only to land in a cat-transformation-coma state.

Enter a second act of “hilarious” cat antics as his wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) realises the cat is the last birthday present he was ever going to give his daughter. They keep the cat. Despite the incessant howling and meowing it makes (and this is coming from a cat lover!) and despite their new cat causing chaos, peeing in women’s handbags, launching itself through the air, drinking Scotch and trying to write messages (partly implemented with awful, awful CG).

This large cat seems to be invisible too; it even gets into a hospital in a child’s backpack, is seen by a dozen hospital staff, yet isn’t escorted out? Or dives into empty boxes to be carried, unawares, by people!
Jennifer Garner’s career must be at an all time low now; on screen nodding in approval at a cat batting balloons with her on-screen daughter, or running headlong into a set of stairs in pursuit of it!

Christopher Walken could be considered the best part of this film… but honestly it looks like they caught him walking by the set one day and hired him on the spot as the cat shop keeper. Sorry, “cat-whisperer” as the film incessantly reminds us over and over as if it were a real thing.

My god, this film is awful. The direction is brainless at best. Scenes start with one tone (let’s say, depression) then escalate within seconds into joy without any development!

“I shouldn’t keep the cat; he will be safer with you, I am afraid for him.”
Spends one minute randomly dancing with cat.
“Okay, I will keep the cat.”

Scenes start and die with almost no rhyme or reason.
But the real kicker, the real issue, is that this film’s genre is the “feel good”, “family” genre. This film’s tone is so messy and garbled that there’s no sense of sympathy with Spacey. Does he learn his lesson? I don’t know. I don’t actually think he does! I was wanting the “antagonists” to win, at least they had a valid business model!

It is agonizing. In a public screening I was actually saying aloud: What is happening? It isn’t funny, it isn’t feel-good; it is confusingly written and gaudily implemented.

Avoid.

0-5

Additional Marshmallows:
I genuinely don’t know what is good in this film… I can only assume Kevin Spacey was blackmailed into doing it.

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