By Chris Gore | July 5, 2001

“Cats & Dogs” is a really great idea. Anyone who just hears the basic story will agree that the concept of a world where felines and canines are engaged in an age-old war unknown to humans is fantastic. Unfortunately, this great idea results in a mediocre movie that will appeal only to less discriminating kids.
A cute puppy named Lou (voiced by Tobey Maguire) is adopted into the Brody family. Mom (Elizabeth Perkins) is a real estate agent and Dad (Jeff Goldblum) is an eccentric scientist working on a formula so that people with an allergy to dogs will be immune. Scott Brody (Alexander Pollock) is a soccer kid who shuns the puppy. (Gee, wonder if they’ll bond in the end?) Lou desires adventure and gets more than he bargained for when he is swept up in the battle of cat versus. Recruited into service by Buddy (Alec Baldwin) the pup meets A furry white cat named Mr. Tinkles (voiced by Sean Hayes) is bent on world domination and dog central has a group of canine agents on the case.
This glimpse into the secret life of cats and dogs is cute filled with goofy characters and computer graphics of an underground dog complex. It so wants to be clever but it fails to really make us believe that dogs can build computers and a sophisticated international railway system. This is mainly due to the bad acting. Yeah, I know, I must sound like an idiot, but it just looks like the filmmakers shot the dogs then added the computer mouths over it without much attention paid to the acting. It’s not endearing in the way that films like “Babe” portrayed animals. It also lacks heart and ultimately makes the onscreen action meaningless since we’re aware from the start that no one is in any real danger. This is not just a film for kids, but kids in the single-digit age group.
One thing is sure: cat people are really not going to take too kindly to this film. The cats are portrayed as the evil villains having enslaved man during the time of the Egyptians and were only driven away by the dogs. And even my kids decided after seeing the film that they’d rather get a dog than a cat now. All in all, this is harmless crap for kids. Okay, I admit that I laughed out loud once at a joke that went over most kid’s heads. So that you won’t have to waste your time or money seeing “Cats & Dogs,” I’ll tell you what it is. Butch, Alec Baldwin’s character in a climactic reveal of the cat’s sinister plan utters, “Son of my mom!” Yeah, that was actually damn funny, but that’s about it.

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