The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Nine Lives (11/1/2016)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language and some rude humor.

Starring Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell and Cheryl Hines

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Wild Wild West and Men in Black)

Todd's Rating: Only if Free

Dynamic ImageIf you’re a cat lover you may love this…if not, then you may wonder why this movie was even made.

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a daredevil billionaire at the top of his game. His eponymous company FireBrand is nearing completion on its greatest achievement to date – the tallest skyscraper in the northern hemisphere. But Tom’s workaholic lifestyle has disconnected him from his family, particularly his beautiful wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and his adoring daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). Rebecca’s 11th birthday is here, and she wants the gift she wants every year, a cat. Tom hates cats, but he is without a gift and time is running out. His GPS directs him to a mystical pet store brimming with odd and exotic cats- where the store’s eccentric owner- Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken), presents him with a majestic tomcat, named Mr. Fuzzypants.

En route to his daughter’s party, Tom has a terrible accident. When he regains consciousness he discovers that somehow, he has become trapped inside the body of the cat. Adopted by his own family, he begins to experience what life is truly like for the family pet, and as a cat, Tom begins to see his family and his life through a new and unexpected perspective. Meanwhile, his family adjusts to life with an odd and stubborn cat, and his son David (Robbie Amell), steps up in ways Tom never expected. If any hope exists of returning to his family as the husband and father they deserve, Tom will have to learn why he has been placed in this peculiar situation and the great lengths he must go to earn back his human existence.

Full disclosure, I am not a cat person. I don’t like them, I don’t get them. I don’t even laugh at those “hang in there posters.” Sorry…I’m a dog guy. If only they made a movie where a guy was turned into a dog…oh wait. They did. Remember that movie…the Shaggy Dog? Yeah, this is that movie…but with a cat.

The plot is pretty simplistic. Workaholic dad is turned into a cat to spend time with his family; I actually like that aspect of the film. And hope that some overworked parents will at least paws (sorry I couldn’t resist), and spend some time with their family.

To say Kevin Spacey phoned this one in would be a major understatement. Jennifer Garner is Jennifer Garner and child actor, Malina Weissman, is OK. I will say that the one performance I did enjoy was Christopher Walken. He’s pretty funny in a role he didn’t take very seriously…thankfully.

There are so many bad jokes like, “I could really use a mouse right now” when trying to use a computer. And the drunken cat scene is really over-the-top. But that is very typical of director Barry Sonnenfeld. I generally don’t find his films funny. The jokes get more eye rolls than laughs from me.

Although I didn’t care for it, I do love the pro-family message and hope that it will cause some families to connect.

But on the film itself, I would say watch it “Only If It’s Free.”

This is a PG film with no sex or nudity. There are a few swear words and slapstick like violence, but it should be fine for most children.

  1. So how did Tom “get into this”?

  2. What lessons did he learn?

  3. Who are the people in your life that you need to spend more time with?

  4. What can you do this week to connect with them one-on-one?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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