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By Michael Ferraro | August 4, 2004

“Catwoman” tries so hard to be several things. It strives to be the start of a new comic book hero franchise, it attempts to be a mid-career jump-start for Sharon Stone, Pitof tries to start a new Hollywood-directing career but above all things, this motion picture aspires to be a good and entertaining film. Unfortunately, this movie accomplishes none of these goals for itself and the audience for which it was designed. Instead you’re left still waiting for Pitof’s real attempt at making a movie and wondering if this villain role for Stone will be as effective as Demi Moore’s in “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”

Halle Berry plays Patience Philips, an inhibited and nerdy graphic designer, who is in the midst of creating a new advertisement for Hedare Beauty’s latest revolutionary ‘anti-age’ cosmetic cream. Of course this cream is harmfully addictive and happens to have side effects that are reminiscent of Paul McCrane’s fate in “RoboCop,” but that doesn’t stop them from releasing it to the public. Poor little Patience discovers this evil plot and is murdered because of it. Lucky for her, a little cat climbs aboard her lifeless body and literally breathes a new life into her in what very well may be the worst scene ever to utilize computer-generated effects in the history of motion pictures. Not only does the cat breathe some new life into Patience, but also the cat-like skill of handling a whip and an intuitive sense of offending anyone with any kind of fashion sense. Now Patience must juggle between fighting the evildoers (Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson) and her new boyfriend Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt).

The screenplay of “Catwoman” is one of the many problems that this film suffers from. Co-writers John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, who also helped write Terminator 3, assisted with the screenplay. Everything they did wrong with the dialogue in that monstrosity, like using silly catch phrases and one-liners, is doubled in this film. You would think that the special effects would be top notch due to the fact that director Pitof’s background includes working with Jean Pierre-Jeunet on both “Delicatessen” and “City of Lost Children.” Sadly, the animation in the video game commercial of the new “Catwoman” video game looked more invigorating.

This film is a profusion of typical comic book storyline clichés we have all seen a thousand times before in other films. One of the main constituents would be a dorky character that later turns into a leather/spandex clad hero, prowling the rooftops of the cityscape searching for injustices. The other component is the fact that every time these types of characters gain their newfound powers, a conflicting relationship with a newly discovered love interest falls into play. Remind anyone of 2001’s “Spiderman?” Both films even have computer-generated effects that are merely lackluster at best and dialogue that is worse than any comic book can spit out. Is it possible for a new type of super-hero movie to come out and surprise us with some kind of innovative new element? At this point I would even accept a story about a lonely toaster who, with the help of his talking appliance pals, journey across the forest to the big city to fight an evil salvage yard. Wait a second; I think that’s already been done, too.

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