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Cats & Dogs - Review

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The film is a sequel to Cats & Dogs (2001) which was an amusing but largely forgettable family flick that had domestic canines and felines running a secret war against each other. In this film the Cats and Dogs continue to be mortal enemies in a battle for supremacy among humans, and both sides have secret organizations and technology at their disposal.

A loose -cannon police dog named Diggs (voice of James Marsden) is recruited by his species' equivalent of the CIA to help stop a psychotic hairless cat named Kitty Galore (Bette Midler). Kitty plans to deploy a weapon that will make all dogs go crazy, which will cause their owners to get rid of them, which will enable cats to take over their share of the pet market.

The feline intelligence agency wants to stop the rogue Kitty, too, as her actions would upset the balance of power and violate the rules of war, or something. This leads to a rare truce between cats and dogs so the two sides can work together and thwart their common enemy. Diggs and his gruff veteran partner, Butch (Nick Nolte), are teamed with Catherine (Christina Applegate), a top feline spy. They receive intel from a stool pigeon named Seamus (Katt Williams). They also descend into a Silence of the Lambs-ish prison to seek advice from Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), the fiendish feline villain from the first Cats & Dogs.

The film is mostly live-action, the animals' faces digitally manipulated to make them talk. Good old-fashioned puppetry and newfangled CGI are also employed as needed. Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich, a duo that also contributed to Brother Bear, Chicken Little, and Open Season have packed their rather short screenplay with as many pet–related jokes as they could. A good many of these are corny and forced, but more than a few made me laugh outright. The plot is straight out of the James Bond casebook, and the film owes much of its look and ideas to classic entries in that franchise, including a villainous sidekick akin to Jaws and Roger Moore voicing the feline equivalent of M.

However, too much time is spent on the wordy script and sly tributes to other more adult films including The Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Fly to keep youngsters entertained throughout. But thanks to improvements in CGI and a sympathetic canine lead (voiced by James Marsden), this is a slight improvement on the original, with the prize for the best voice acting going to Bette Midler, who lends Kitty a devilish rasp that's one of the joys of the film.

The film succeeds as a moderately funny entertainer but not anywhere closer to the first part. However, one just wishes the film was in regular 2D instead of cashing on the 3D craze and converting it to one!

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: Moderately funny

Rating: 2.5 out of 5*

Starring: Voices of James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Bette Midler and Roger Moore

Director: Brad Peyton

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