When I first heard about Nine Lives, I immediately thought of The Shaggy Dog – both movies about businessmen turning into house pets, one is a dog, one is a cat…which one will win? Well in terms of how good a movie is, I guess The Shaggy Dog would probably be the victor – after all, that’s a movie that was technically a remake. Nine Lives, on the other hand, is not. So I had to ask myself, as I’m sure many of you out there did as well, why? Let’s get into it.
Nine Lives has a plot that can only be described as predictable. In this family comedy, businessman Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) transforms into a cat, his least favorite animal, at the most opportune time. His new building was about to open, his wife is about to leave him, his daughter is about to be super disappointed in him, and he doesn’t ever notice his son. In general, he’s a modern-day Scrooge. So as a cat, he has to let his family know who he really is before it’s too late.
Where to start, where to start. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to watch this movie, and if the main character wasn’t portrayed by Kevin Spacey, I probably would have skipped this one. However, Spacey is a brilliant actor, and I haven’t found a lot of his movies that bad…other than this one. First of all, he’s more of a voice actor in this than anything else, and his voice acting is really rather terrible. I mean, half the time he’s just trying to voice a live-action cat – which we all know is unpredictable in its actions. So when the cat is batting at the air, he says something like, “Hey, stop, hey, hey”…it’s sad, really.
The cat itself is indeed cute, which is to be expected when the movie itself starts off with a montage of cute and funny cat videos. So apparently this is supposed to be the cute and funny cat movie? I’m not sure, but that’s not how I took it. A movie cannot solely rely on a cute cat voiced by a talented actor – I know that now. Maybe if it had a good script and stronger direction, but this felt aimless – like Spacey didn’t even have a script, just a video of a cat doing a bunch of things and then he dubbed over what maybe…a human would say during those scenes. I know he had a script, it just wasn’t strong!
Family movies aren’t always award-winning, just fun. I get it, and a lot of the times, animal movies are just that…fun…or maybe they are just cute. Without substance, though, a movie falls flat on its back with nowhere to turn. It was nice seeing a lot more known faces than I expected. I especially appreciate Christopher Walken’s presence in the movie – it was almost as if he was reprising his role in Click. In fact, I’d probably contribute his role as the best part in the movie.
Folks, Nine Lives isn’t very funny, it has a weak script and weak direction and it leaves you wondering why it was made in the first place. My kid laughed at the cat flipping around on screen a couple of times, so that’s one good thing I suppose…but that’s about it.