“Nine Lives” stars Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, and Christopher Walken. Released on August 5, 2016, the film is about a major business tycoon who gets trapped inside a cat’s body and must reconnect with his family before time runs out.
The film is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who is known for directing the Men in Black trilogy. You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing this film. Well, it’s either because I’m always in a mood for a film that has been receiving a lot a bad reviews from critics or my mom wanted to see this. It’s probably the former. I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this film. It could be pretty dumb or it could be a harmless film fit for families. After seeing it for the first time with my mother, I can tell that, in my opinion, it has both of these qualities. Dumb, but harmless.
The cast delivered some pretty passable performances, including Spacey as Tom and Walken as Felix Perkins. Jennifer Garner is just there because she wanted to be in more family films. The story offered a valuable message about being there for your family, which is a pretty important message nowadays. Unfortunately, the way it was told seemed uninspired, predictable and weak. I can’t help but feel that this is a B-movie version of The Shaggy Dog....with a cat. You know those types of B-movies that are like television movie versions of some of the popular action blockbusters? That’s pretty much how I can describe this movie. In fact, they should’ve called it “The Shaggy Cat” instead, and have it inspired by Garfield. So...”Garfield the Shaggy Cat”. That’s what I’m calling it from now on, “Garfield the Shaggy Cat”. Truth be told, I haven’t actually seen EuropaCorp, the French film company behind the Taken trilogy and the Transporter series, distribute a family comedy like this before, so it’s a nice change of pace. There were a couple of moments that were chuckle-worthy, but they’re not laugh-out-loud funny like the other comedies that were playing right now. A lot of the visuals, including the green screen effects and the CGI that was used on the cat, were pretty noticeable considering the fact that it was made on a $30 million budget.
Mom: I come from the era where on Sunday nights the family got together in front of the TV and watched the Wonderful World of Disney. While this was not a Disney movie, it brought me back to Sunday night family time. The importance of family time is the strong message here and so very important in today’s day in age where we are all too busy to smell the roses. Heck, apparently we are too busy to slow down for a red light since I was recently cursed out for that....but I digress.....This movie had me laughing and crying and wanting to hug my family the way a good old family movie should. We need more and I recommend this for all of our busy families out there. Take a deep breath and go to a family movie.
Overall, “Nine Lives” (aka “Garfield the Shaggy Cat”) doesn’t quite land on its feet in terms of the story, the humor, and the effects, but does it make it a horrible family film? Not really. Sure, it has its problems like its fuzzy little star, but it does have some nice moments here and there that will delight some kids and their parents. It’s just that, to me, it needs more than its cuteness and its cast to make up for its easy-to-spot flaws. Nonetheless, it’s a watchable film that I would recommend to some families.