A few weeks back my Marmaduke review carried the headline, “Talking Dogs Will Never Be Funny.” After making a statement so matter-of-factly, it’s only a matter of time before it comes back to haunt you. One day, I will see a talking dog movie that is funny. Today is not that day. The latest film to bleed my ears dry with the inherent nonsense of a talking animal picture is Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, the unnecessary sequel to the 2001 original.
In the first film, we learned that all dogs and cats are natural enemies (spoiler alert!). Their factions had been in a long term battle for supremacy amongst the humans. The dogs took the title of “man’s best friend” to heart while the cats hoped to eliminate them and become the new household pet. In the sequel, not much has changed. Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler) has a similar plan. She plans to make all the dogs in the world go mad, which would turn them against their owners who would have no choice but to lock them up. However, Kitty’s plan would also harm the humans, something the good cats in the M.E.O.W. squad don’t want, which forces them and the dogs at D.O.G. Headquarters to team up against their will. Headed by Butch (voiced by Nick Nolte) and joined by new recruit Diggs (voiced by James Marsden) and M.E.O.W. agent Catherine (voiced by Christina Applegate), they set out to stop Kitty and keep the natural balance.
I’ll admit. I enjoyed the original. The reason for that is due to its grounding in its own fictional world. It played it straight, imaginative and fun. In the sequel, it branches out into spoof territory taking on Scarface, Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs and referencing the James Bond series, quite literally, dozens of times. Its shameless attempts to pander to the adult audience is depressing and unfunny. They won’t work even for those familiar with the pictures it’s joking on, so don't expect the kids to understand. It’s a lose-lose situation all around.
If there’s one thing in the world I hate, it’s animal puns. If you’ve ever seen a live action talking animal movie, you’ve heard one. They’re insufferable and grating, the least funny of all jokes on the laugh spectrum, and they’re in spades here. To put it simply, Marmaduke now has a serious contender for one of the most annoying movies of the year. Take for instance the vehicle the dogs ride in to get to D.O.G. Headquarters that, upon arriving at their destination, is put into “Stay” rather than “Park.”
Most jokes play out one of those two ways: animal gags or film references. It’s only about an hour and 20 minutes long, but you’ll hear every tick of the clock as the seconds go by. Five minutes will seem like ten. Ten will seem like twenty. Twenty will feel like an hour.
There’s not much else to say that hasn’t been said before, either in other reviews or about previous films in the genre. You either like these things or you don’t. Personally, with only one or two exceptions, I loathe them. Cats and Dogs may have gotten by in 2001 for being somewhat original in a genre that had yet to be exploited, but its sequel is merely another drop in the bucket of talking dog movies as far as I’m concerned.
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore receives 1/5