The tagline on the poster for Kitty Mammas is “The cat’s out of the womb.” Well, that is certainly truth in advertising. The Katrina Nicholson-penned, Dennis Alexander Nicholson-directed mockumentary is, indeed, about wombs and cats. See, the (wrongfully) disgraced Dr. Han (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) is starting a clinical trial with a camera crew in tow to capture it all. What’s so special about this clinical trial that the good doc wants someone to film the ups and downs of the participants?
Well, Dr. Han is using genetic modification to make four women— the married mom Sylvia (Janet Porter), the law-school bound Joan Jett (Kathryn Kohut), Maria (Vienna Hehir), whose fiance Jennifer (Zarrin Darnell-Martin) is supportive through her mom is not, and the absolutely cat-obsessed Rose (Morgan Kohan)— pregnant… with cats! Each woman has her own reasons for taking part in the odd, though exciting, science experiment. Though the trial hits a snag when nosy reported Darryl (Drew Nelson), the ex-husband of Dr. MacKenzie (Helene Robbie), the veterinarian who is part of the medical team for the clinical, begins to snoop around and trespass and uncover what is happening.
Kitty Mammas is far-fetched, but it takes the characters and its story quite seriously. Yes, there are scenes where the characters begin acting very feline-esque, and they are hilarious. But the drama in their lives is compelling and keeps the absurd plot from becoming so esoteric that no one can relate to the characters. Sylvia trying to juggle her kids’ needs, confront her OCD husband about a lie he told, and deal with the camera crew documenting her life during this time, feels genuine. The audience waits with bated breath for Maria to put her mom in her place, as their relationship is relatable. Joan’s anger at her artsy mom for never really understanding what she needs helps round her out to a full person. And well, Rose is Rose; hyper, cat-obsessed, vlogs everything, and is delightful all the way around. Even her story has a few heartfelt moments, but those contain some spoilers, so let’s leave it at that.
“…Dr. Han is using genetic modification to make four women pregnant…with cats!”
Porter, Kohut, Hehir, and Kohan have to do quite a bit throughout the film. They need to be scared about the potential side effects, showcase their characters’ human side, act like cats, and form an emotional bond with each other. Happily, they are all up to the task with a lot of energy while still maintaining distinct personalities. As the personable Dr. Han, Lee is a lot of fun and shares fantastic chemistry with Robbie, so their relationship, which is not a primary focus, still works.
Robbie’s charisma is evident from her first scene, and she never disappoints. However, the MVP of Kitty Mammas is Stephanie Belding as Nurse Pauline. Her body language, cadence, and general demeanor continuously generate uproarious laughs the whole way through. Belding’s glee for pain and violence makes the character quite memorable.
Yes, Kitty Mammas runs with its absurd premise to hilarious results. But the direction and writing are smart enough to know that simple jokes, no matter how good, are not enough to sustain an entire film. So, Katrina Nicholson and Dennis Alexander Nicholson wrote in moving backstories and realistic drama so the audience will engage with these characters. And all of it is brought to life by a brilliant ensemble who give it their all. So yeah, the humans pregnant with cats film is a great surprise that’s sure to paint a smile on all viewers’ faces.
"…sure to paint a smile on all viewers' faces."