CATS & DOGS — THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE provides a sticky conundrum for those wishing to review it. On the one hand, the plotting is obvious, the jokes moreso, and the platitudes cloying. On the other hand, it is a harmless flick that the youngest members of its target audience have found enchanting at preview screenings. There is no objectionable language. There is a laudable message of enemies working together for a common cause and learning that there is no reason for them to be enemies except misunderstandings. Plus, there is the answer to the question of what co-star Chris ODonnell is up to these days. Unfortunately, even among that target audience of kiddies, those for whom double-digits are looming just over the horizon will discover the bubble-bursting reality that predictability is a fact of cinematic life, and that not every double-take is intrinsically funny.
Revisiting the conceit that talking cats and dogs have super secret organizations to protect mankind and to wage war against each other, a new set of writers continue the saga of the age old enmity by introducing a super villain that turns out to be a threat to both species. That would be the eponymous Kitty Galore (Bette Midler) a hairless with grand designs that include her mad scheme to drive every dog in the world insane with an ultrasonic recording bounced off a satellite and back to Earth. This is a fortunate turn of events for Diggs (James Marsden), a police dog with a penchant for overreacting in ways that lead to explosions and other sorts of property damage. Despite protests from his human partner (ODonnell), hes returned to the dreaded kennels where, to his surprise, hes recruited by xxxx. Its also to the chagrin of Butch (Nick Nolte), a veteran agent with no patience for his new partners brashness.
The skimpiest of storylines has the two tracking an addled pigeon (Katt Williams) with vital information, clashing with Catherine (Christina Applegate) the daring and dangerous agent of M.E.O.W., while also getting on each others nerves. There are assorted bits of nonsense that fall flat from a combination of dull direction and unimaginative writing. A sequence that involves cats and dogs flying over San Francisco conducting aerial warfare plays with all the excitement of a snail race. Goofy Scottish cat assassins are just annoying. The special effects that allow the actual cats and dogs to talk realistically is good, but would that they had something to say, and would that the humans of the piece, other than ODonnell, would actually act instead of pretending that they were cartoons. The situation perks up a bit at the spy headquarters, where all the comforts of canine and feline fantasy respectively are incorporated into an otherwise corporate workspace, but it hardly makes up for the would-be spoofing of spy flicks that never quite finds its traction.
While there is no denying that a dog making puppy eyes is intrinsically winning, it wont carry a full-length flick for an adult. Nor will the one unarguably good line, Kitty Galore explaining that its amazing what you can do with a few spare parts and a thirst to destroy, save the day, even when with Middlers hyperbolic delivery. CAT AND DOGS — THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE gamely galumphs along to its inevitable denouement without achieving much more than giggles from toddlers and a severe testing of adult patience.