Nine Lives Review: A Half-Hearted Attempt At Comedy That'll Make You Groan
Director: Barry Sonnenfield
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Malina Weissman, Christopher Walken
Barry Sonnenfield’s Nine Lives is a half-hearted attempt at comedy that'll only leave you groaning. What could have been a super-engrossing watch ends up being just a slightly-engaging film losing its charm mid-way to forced humour and sloppy effects.
Tom Brand, played by Kevin Spacey, a major business tycoon and the founder of a firm ‘Fire Brand’, is caught up so much in his professional life that he totally neglects his second wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). While he’s busy weaving the dream of building the tallest building in North America, he ends up forgetting important events of his family members including his daughter’s 11th birthday. He decides to make it up by gifting her a present she’s been asking for years now; a cat. For the last-minute arrangements, he rushes to a mysterious pet shop run by Felix Perkins (Chistopher Walken) and that’s when the story begins.
Soon after his visit to the pet shop, he meets with an accident and finds himself trapped inside a cat’s body. Mr Fuzzy Pants, which is what the cat is named, makes so much sense for a cat body with a greedy-businessminded-human soul delving inside it. It’s definitely an interesting premise to explore the intricacies of a human life amid a cat’s body only if the director would have used this to its full potential.
When an Oscar-winner decides to play cat, it’s obvious that the stakes on this cat are high. While Kevin and Jennifer do a good job, it’s the child actor Malina Weissman who steals the show. The cat sometimes is a real cat and sometimes an over-animated computerised version of a ball covered with fur. With a comedy genre film backed by a star cast as splendid and a basic plot as strong, one expects a lot more than just a few giggles here and there.
The effects that have been used in the film are nowhere near to being perfect. In fact, there are some scenes which are so poorly shot that you’ll end up laughing at its loopholes more than the chuckle-worthy one-liners. Lara taking a dive to catch Mr. Fuzzypants and the cats eying on Tom as he enters the pet shop are some of such scenes.
Based on the myth that a cat has nine lives, this film makes a flawed attempt, to make you realise that you’re not a cat who’s blessed enough to have nine lives but a mere human with one life to reconcile all that you’ve done wrong and to live it happily with your loved ones.
You might want to watch this film only and only if you’re a die-hard cat person.