Rest assured, Tom and Jerry are escaping the PC brigade! BRIAN VINER Finds That 80 Years Later, The Legendary Cartoon Cat And Mouse Is Still Brimming With Slapstick Violence In New Film
Tom and Jerry The Movie
Any movie building that involves a few animated superstars should start looking good on paper. And this one clearly did – bring those old cartoon troupers Tom and Jerry back to life, surround them with real-life actors in a real New York City, and let them run wild in a silly thread around a corporate wedding set in a chic hotel.
Many ideas look great on paper, but are miserably realized on screen. But director Tim Story and screenwriter Kevin Costello keep everything bubbly along with considerable energy – and a thumping soundtrack – even if the audience that grew up worshiping Tom & Jerry shorts on TV could eventually put their stamina to the test. An hour and 41 minutes isn’t long for a movie, but it’s long for a cat and mouse game.
We first meet Tom busking in Central Park, where he can gain maximum admiration – and profit – playing the piano while pretending to be blind. When his act is sabotaged by Jerry, the chase begins and ends at the la-di-da Royal Gate Hotel.
Chloe Grace Moretz, depicted with the animated stars of the movie Tom and Jerry, plays a little girl adrift in New York City who persuades a hotel manager to hire her
In order to keep her job at the posh hotel, she must get rid of the building of a certain rodent, Tom, who is tasked with capturing Jerry.
Meanwhile, Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) – a little village girl adrift in town – forces the gullible hotel manager, Mr. Dubros (Rob Delaney), to hire her. But the pompous head of the event team, Terence (Michael Pena), isn’t that enamored.
If she wants to keep her unfair job, Kayla must succeed in an important task in the run-up to the big wedding. There is a rodent infestation in the hotel. In any case, a cheeky mouse. To get rid of Jerry, who is ‘hiding’ on the tenth floor, she needs Tom’s help.
Mr. Dubros agrees to put the cat on the payroll by giving him a cap and name badge. But when the job is done and Jerry seems to have waived, management must figure out how to let Tom go “ without raising an equivalent employment problem. ”
There are plenty of wry nods to modern life, including selfies, hip-hop music, and even biodegradable poop bags once Spike the bulldog (voiced by Bobby Cannavale) enters the fray. Still, traditionalists can rest easily; the film is no different from the slapstick violence for which Tom and Jerry have been celebrated since 1940. The unfortunate cat, in particular, needs at least his nine lives.
There are plenty of wry nods to modern life, including selfies, hip-hop music and even biodegradable poop bags once Spike the bulldog (voiced by Bobby Cannavale) enters the fray
It could very well be that the filmmakers were influenced by the 2015 Shaun The Sheep Movie, which also documented a series of animal experiments in a busy city. There are a few parallels that are too obvious to overlook, but let me add (and I hope you forgive me) that Shaun and his fellows put down an extremely high baa. This picture never comes close. Nevertheless, what it lacks in charm it makes up for with energy. The human cast, wonderfully led by Moretz, does a really great comedy job, helped by some really funny one-liners and a handful of excellent visual jokes – including one that should draw a cheer from anyone who remembers the Mousetrap board game. It was also a small masterstroke to animate not just Tom and Jerry, but all of New York’s animal life.
To the eagle eyes, this means sightings of other old cartoon favorites like Droopy the dog and Goldie the goldfish plus a pair of elephants, Cecil and Malcolm – hired so the bride and groom can arrive riding on their backs in style – that are somewhat unlikely to be voiced by ITV – presenters Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard. “OMG, is that a mouse?” notes Cecil, or perhaps Malcolm, before all hell breaks loose in the hotel ballroom.
Will all of this appeal to any diehard fan of the classic Hanna-Barbera shorts? Probably not. However, if it brings some welcome collective fun to families – which I think it will – then the eighty-year-old cat and mouse have done their job.
Tom & Jerry: The Movie will be available tomorrow on most major digital platforms.