'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore'
This sequel is a modest upgrade over the weak 2001 film on which it's based, but it's not worth the ticket surcharge for the needless conversion to 3-D.The title might be "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," but you can't really talk about this OK sequel to the best-forgotten 2001 kids movie without addressing another animal — namely, the elephant in the room.
"Cats & Dogs" is the latest family movie to be unnecessarily converted to 3-D, which means that if Mom and Dad want to take the kids to see the fur fly this weekend, they're going to probably pay a premium surcharge to receive absolutely nothing of value in return.
For franchises like "Toy Story" and " Shrek," you might not be happy about the extra $4 a ticket but you're more likely to grin and bear it. For "Cats & Dogs"? If there ever was a film to thumb your nose at the recent spate of 3-D ticket-gouging, this is it. Save your money. Buy your pet a chew toy and wait for the DVD release.
As for the movie itself, it is better than the original "Cats & Dogs." But so is a rabies shot. First-time director Brad Peyton and veteran family-film screenwriters Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich ("Open Season," "Chicken Little") have concocted a sendup of James Bond spy flicks with cats and dogs joining forces to thwart hairless cat Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler) and her diabolical plans to rule the world.
Bond spoofs have been done to death, but the filmmakers have some fun incorporating animals into the familiar scenarios. Canine agents report to DOG headquarters, while their feline counterparts clock in at MEOWS. Each agency is tricked out with nicely realized décor, such as DOG headquarters' bathroom, which consists of a row of fire hydrants.
Midler voices Kitty with campy gusto, and it's kind of fun to hear Nick Nolte's voice coming out of a gruff mastiff DOG agent who's paired with an over-eager German shepherd ( James Marsden). Humans take a back seat to the real animals (who are aided by hit-and-miss CGI and, occasionally, animatronics), with "30 Rock's" Jack McBrayer making the best impression as Kitty's smothering magician owner.
A funny, new three-minute Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon, "Coyote Falls," precedes the picture and actually makes pretty good use of the 3-D format. The frenetic feature film, meanwhile, doesn't. The tot target audience will enjoy it just fine on the living-room sofa.