Hello, Spongey here.
It’s Scene by Scene review time, my friends Today we have one I’ve been wanting to do ever since I heard about the film. Don’t worry, I was open to the idea of it being good, even if it spoilers, is not.
Sometimes you see a trailer, and almost kind of want it to be as bad as it looks, because it’ll be so much fun to tear down. This stinker from this year is an example. The trailer looked just so lame and cliché, that I knew it would be fun to look at.
I actually wanted to catch it in theaters, but my local theater did not get it. Yet they got The Wild Life, which is worse in a lot of ways. So I had to wait until it came out on DVD to watch it. I did and…yeah, here we are.
This will be a fun one. This was mocked for it’s stars alone and trust me, there’s plenty to make fun of. But first, our creative team .We have FIVE writers somehow and between them Four Christmases is their only notable work.
The director on the other hand is known for the Men in Black movies. Seriously. I mean, even Wild Wild West made more sense for him than this. How does someone like him do a movie like un-ironically?
You’ll find out. This has been a long time coming, and hopefully I can post this before any other reviewers get to it. Time to do this.
This, is Nine Lives
The movie opens with two things you’ll be seeing a lot of: Cats doing cute things, and Kevin Spacey sounding like he’d rather be anywhere but the recording booth.
“A cat doesn’t care if you live or die, as long as you give it Friskie’s twice a day”
Deep. But yes, Kevin Spacey will be our cat. I have no idea why he took this role, even then he’s way past that point in your career when you do shit like this. Either way, he is the best part of the movie…sort of.
We actually begin on a plane with Tom Brand, played by Kevin Spacey, who is with his son played by Robbie Ammel.
“How old are you again?”
Now that’s some completely natural exposition.
Tom is going to jump out of this plane as a stunt for his company. He does so and arrives at a press conferences, which is about how he plans to make the tallest building in North America. He is doing so because…reasons.
Yeah, that’s our goal of the movie, with is dumb and spoilers, isn’t even resolved because the whole point is that Tom cares too much about it. He’s competing with some other company to reach this arbitrary goal,which only makes this dumber.
“<After the conference, Tom goes back to his company building
“Let’s pretend that didn’t just happen”
Kevin Spacey says this to himself every night now.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to his daughter, and wife, played by Jennifer Garner. The daughter is watching the video of the press conference, and says she’s now watched it many times. Because these writers get kids.
At the same time, we get drawn out scenes of business men talking about business. This is riveting, I bet kids would love this. This scene at least further establishes how much of a dick Tom is, or at least supposed to be.
Yeah, he’s weird in that he’s both not as bad as the movie says, but is also kind of too unlikable. You’ll see what I mean as we go on.
Later, Tom goes home and talks to his wife, and it turns out he has forgotten about his daughter’s birthday but thankfully that is tomorrow so he still has time. Yeah, by now you’ve noticed we’re doing the Workaholic Dad thing.
A cliché that should be dead but somehow isn’t. Here, it’s weird. He does at least have a legit issue and is focusing on the wrong things, but he also tries at least a bit and treats his family well enough.
So it’s mixed, but is still certainly no better than most takes on this story.
A bit later, they go to some charity event thingy Tom is hosting and the wife introduces Tom as a “real pussycat”. …Wow, you’re not even trying to be subtle. The scene ends there because it only existed to make that lame joke.
The daughter wants a cat for her birthday but he hates cats. Oh the subtle irony! He talks with his business guys about it and they think he should just get the cat.
“What about a pony?”
We are then introduced to Tom’s Ex-Wife who is a bitch because almost every Ex-Spouse in fiction is an asshole for some reason.
“When Tom and I divorced, he got the younger model. If he loses you it’s jailbait’
You know-for kids!
Tom is of course late for Rebeca’s birthday party and quickly rushes to get her the cat. He stumbles across a cat store which is right out of Gremlins, but with more cats. We meet the owner, played by Christoper Walken.
Somehow he’s less shocking to see in this. And yes, he has a very similar role to his role in Click. Even an Adam Sandler movie is more dignified than this.
“I put newspapers in the poopy boxes, and I see your face all the time”
Walken is still on point in this.
Tom picks out a cat and goes on his way.
“Okay Cats, let’s do this”
Thunder. Just in case you didn’t know he was creepy.
Instead of going home, Tom goes to meet with this guy who works for him who is a bit of a douche. He takes the cat with him because…the plot says so. They meet at the top of building while it’s raining because dramatic. They don’t talk about much anyway, until Tom fires Ian. A slip causes Tom to start danging from the roof.
Ian lets him fall because he’s the villain. Yes, this movie has a villain even though it didn’t need one. Tom is thankfully saved by a contrivance and ends up crashing through awindow just below them.
That whole situation was a rather contrived way to get Tom hurt which is done for a reason we’ll get into. When Tom wakes up, he sees a body being taken by hospital people. …His body.
It doesn’t take long for him to look at himself and find out the horrible truth. …He is now a cat. Does he freak out or scream over this? What’s his reaction?
Yeah, that’s a fitting reaction. Infact, it’s my reaction. Yes, this is our premise. It’s as good as it sounds. Tom’s body is in a coma because the idea of Kevin Spacey’s body acting like a cat was silly even for them.
But where does the cat’s soul go then? Because he has switched with this exact cat. Also, if they found his body at the building, why is no one questioning why he was there? Ian pops up and he is not questioned about this.
Seriously, not one bit of this situation makes any sense.
Christoper Walken shows up.
“Get me out of here you son of a-”
This is not the last adult reference in this kids movie.
“I hate cats!”
“That’s what makes this so perfect”
Ha ha, you writers are so clever.
Then Walken leaves. Yeah, he doesn’t explain exactly why he’s like this, or anything like that. Or even how he has the powers to do this. He just leaves, making him popping up here pointless.
When they get home, Tom immediately tries to convince them he’s human. Well, gotta give him credit for that, at least. But of course that’s easier said than done, as his attempts go hilariously wrong.
At one point, he’s messing with a pen and ink gets on a picture of George W Bush. That just proves this script spent a few years in development. Although if they did this a couple years after this, the gag of the current president being defaced would be funny.
That’s the only political joke I’m making, so enjoy it.
After a bit of that, he gives up and gets drunk …No, really. He finds a way to get a drink from the liqueur cabinet, and he gets genuinely drunk.
“This is good scotch”
…This is the greatest film ever made. I mean just…wow. This is a kids movie, right? This is funny on it’s own just because how he gives up and gets drunk, but it’s even funnier in a movie as dumb as this.
Honestly, I don’t think this was in the script. Kevin Spacey realized what movie he was in, got drunk, and they just wrote around it. This is just….amazing on every level.
He falls over and there’s a freaking Iris In, out of a Looney Tunes Cartoon. Does that mean the movie’s over?!
He wakes up with a cat hangover which is even more amazing.
“There’s your liter box”
“No thanks, I have the rug”
Okay, that was funny.
“I hate Karma”
Okay, this is a chance to talk about Kevin Space’s performance as this cat. I’ve seen movies where an actor clearly doesn’t wanna be there, or doesn’t like that interested. But this film takes it to a new level, as Kevin Spacey not only sounds like he wants no part in this, but he sounds like he hates every second of being forced to record for this thing.
That’s part of the character, but Kevin Spacey plays it too well, sounding so pissed and unhappy all the time. This is a good thing for me since it’s funny, but a bad thing for the movie since he still sounds like this by the end when he’s supposed to be growing as a character.
Tom goes back to trying to get people to know it’s him, by writing with alphabet magnets. He actually does write something passable, but the wife doesn’t look and he goes just gives up. She conveniently never looks there at all.
You know, it’s not a shitty kids movie without product placement, so let’s watch Tom try to get Fruity Pebbles, and have it be the center of a scene. Very subtle. He gets up the pantry, but accidentally makes some knives fall to the floor. Tom falls but thankfully misses them.
“Do they make MRA’s for cats?”
“Don’t you mean Cat Scans?”
‘I should have landed on the knives”
Okay, this had to have been planned to be an R rated film at one point, with jokes like this. Also, agreed. Anyway, the Ex-wife shows up.
“Yay, Satan’s over for Dinner!”
Pfft, that was funny too. Seriously, at this point Kevin Spacey is MSTing his own movie. On a side note, the wife figured out that the cat got drunk and…doesn’t care that their cat got drunk. Huh.
At this point you’ve noticed my recap is a bit odd, pointing out small moments more than usual. That’s because for one, there’s a lot of little moments to point out. And 2nd, this movie focuses way more on dumb antics than an actual story.
Once he’s s cat, the next half hour or so is just stuff like this. That would be fine but the actual story is very messy when they try to have one. But whatever, let’s have Tom piss in the ex-wife’s purse, leading to a wacky chase scene.
The next day, the son tries to pick up where Tom left off and we got more boring business talk. Thankfully it doesn’t last long and we cut to more of Kevin Spacey being miserable.
“Lord help me”
Walken comes over to talk things out with Tom, and he explains things a bit. Tom’s body won’t last crazy longer so he has a limited time to figure a way out of this before the body dies. In this dire situation, he doesn’t directly tell Tom what to do to get out of, he has to cryptically hint at it by telling Tom to behave.
Was Tom was really bad enough for Walken to just toy around with the concept of him dying like this? He then threatens to get Tom…fixed. No comment. We then get a montage of Cat Tom doing stuff with Rebecca.
“Just drown me”
The utter contempt in his voice is just amazing.
After that, the wife gets a call from a guy named Josh.
“I can’t keep doing this”
Yes, that’s implying what you think it’s implying. Tom doesn’t like this and tries to stop her from heading out, and after a wild chase, she gets him to drop her keys by…threatening the cat.
“No wonder Tm picked you, you’re just like him…..Only difference, I’m legally barred from castrating my husband”
….Is this movie for kids or what?!
Tom hitches a ride with her after doing some impossible jumps to get down there, and Laura tells this Josh that she can’t keep seeing him. It is confirmed that she considered leaving Tom. Yeah.
Why? Uh…he was a bit of an ass I guess, but was he seriously bad enough for her to dump him and fool around with this other guy? What we’ve seen of him is bad, but this feels like it’s going a bit too far.
Oh, and after this scene it’s never really brought up again. It’s pretty much a pointless plot point. Hooray. And now, a were 40 plus minutes in, Tom starts being a tad nice and starts to actually grow a bit.
He starts bonding with Rebecca, in a bit set to 3 Cool Cats. Haw Haw.
“I’m an idiot/’
Another part where I don’t think Kevin Spacey is acting..
The Ex-Wife’s Daughter shows up and is a bitch about this whole situation. She even is about to post an embarrassing picture of Rebecca in light of all this. Thankfully, Tom the Cat is here to save the day.
Rebeca sees it before it gets posted and she gets …mad.
“My Dad is in the hospital, explain the joke to me!”
I gotta say, this is kind of statysfying even if this scene is pointless. Remember the part in the trailer where Tom puts the phone in the toliet? Well, it lied because it’s Rebecca who does it. Nice.
(Speaking of the trailer, that scene where Tom does pull ups to convince them he’s human? Not in the movie. THERE’S DELETED SCENES FOR NINE FREAKING LIVES)
“If this is what it takes to become human ,I will become the best cat to ever live”
How drunk do you think Kevin Spacey got after recording that line?
We go back to the company side of the plot, with the son investigating some stuff, as well as Tom doing cat things in an office building. We get final proof that Ian is evil: He wants them to pull the plug on Tom.
Because everything he did before didn’t make him enough of an obvious villain, I guess. That night, Laura goes to sleep with Tom the Cat.
“I Love you’
You can’t hear but he sounded so disinterested, that I don’t buy his love declaration here.
The next morning, Ian shows up to suggest pulling the plug again and Tom attacks him.
“That cat is Feral, he needs to go to the pound. This is a brand new suit”
You can’t hear this either but I’M ACTING.
Laura isn’t having any of his shit and kicks him out. That’s cool but it further shows how much he fails as a villain. Through a convoluted series of events, Rebecca starts thinking that the Cat is Tom and goes to Walken’s store.
Nothing really happens except that she basically gets confirmation from Walken that the Cat is Tom. She asks no further questions and leaves. Well actually no, she dances with the cat just so we can get a shot of Walken dancing. Okay then.
So Tom is starting to bond and be nice, even if it’s quite rushed. Good, we only have like 11 minutes left. Things start getting grim as even the people at the hospital start losing hope, as his body seems to be starting to give up.
Through another series of events, the son kind of loses the company to the bad guy and is now doubly sad. He says something here but I’m skipping it as it’ll fit more in a minute.
You just need to know that Tom is trying to get the son after he leaves the room. It’s important because Tom passes up a chance to really convince Laura he’s Tom , so they won’t pull the plug. Yeah, getting to the son is so important, he’s willing to die and be a cat forever.
Walken shows up and helps out Tom who has to get through some security guards. Who are …watching a video of that chase with the Ex-Wife from earlier. ..Who was recording that?!
They see Tom and recognize him.
“/We are gonna break the internet”
I can’t think of a witty comeback. That was just…awful.
Tom gets to the roof of this building, where David is. Yeah, remember that line I skipped. It was this:
“I’m going to take my first jump…and my last jump”
….Yep. They’re going there. …What the hell?! I mean just…kids movies can have dark theme but it has to fit. This is a movie about Kevin Spacey becoming a cat. It doesn’t fit.
David jumps and Tom jumps after him. Tom attempts to set up something to stop him from going slap, but with his size and how he sets it up…yeah ,he’s dead.
Then we find out that David has a parachute. That’s right, he wasn’t going to kill himself, he’s just doing a stunt. Why did he say “last jump’ then? To fool the audience for some reason. It wasn’t even for a joke, this was our climax.
It just feels…off, you know?
But now Tom is gonna die for no reason, yay. David sees his cat falling with him and just actives the parachute for his stunt. Yeah ,don’t save your cat, asshole. Speaking of which, Tom….just finds himself waking up in his human body now!
And yeah, that implies the cat died here but they don’t go into it and no one mentions anything being interrupted by cat suicide. But either way, this is really abrupt.
We cut back to David arriving at the press thing but again, no one sees or mentions a dying cat. The cat just kind of vanishes somehow.
Through another series of small events, Ian is somehow defeated through some bullshit I don’t care about. Again, what a lame villain. Ian walks way and bumps into Walken. He warns him about talking on his phone…and he’s ran over by a car.
Then we see Walken talking to a cat voiced by Ian. Which means..
“I hate cats”
“That’s what makes this so perfect.”
….How many people has Walken killed and turned into a cat!?
‘You probably wanna hear that I’ve learned something”
Yes, that’s kind of the point of this damn movie.
“I still think cats are horrible beasts…but I’m not one of them”
So the moral is don’t be a cat, got it.
He and Rebbeca visit Walken sometime later and asks if a cat shop has any dogs (?) and they of course don’t but the cat Kevin Spacey became is here now! Walken even says he’s used 8 of his lives, meaning the cat did die but no one saw it. Somehow.
Either way, the cat is back, woo hoo.
“So that;s a no on the dog then”
The End. Yep,a very abrupt ending, I’m so shocked. We don’t really see much of how Tom has changed, we don’t even see him with his wife. It just…stops. Because let’s be honest, no one would stay in the theater up to this point, so may as well not even try with the ending.
But I will gladly follow Ian in Nine Lives 2: Even Kevin Spacey wasn’t good enough for this one.
Okay, all jokes aside, to be totally honest…this movie isn’t really THAT terrible. It’s bad yes, but …I’ve seen worse this year. Which is kind of sad. The main problems should be obvious by now, but let’s go over them again.
This film is unironically cliché as hell, and doesn’t even do these cliches right. You never feel like Tom is really developing that much because It takes him too long to start leaning and we don’t see that much of it before the dumb climax.
And like I said, the ending is very rushed. The movie focuses way too much on silly antics and business talk, and not enough on story or character development. The movie is about Tom learning to be a good father, but I never buy any of it.
The movie is really stupid, as I’ve shown. It also happens to have too many adult references including mentions of castration and suicide. As I said, you can make adult references in a kids movie, but make sure it’s not in a Kevin Spacey Cat Movie.
However, I can’t deny that there is some enjoyment…all tied to Kevin Spacey.
I mentioned how he sounds so pissed off the whole time, and how he clearly does not want to be there. While that is kind of a problem…it makes the movie so much more bearable. It’s kind of funny in how he just doesn’t want to be here.
It almost makes this thing…not quite so bad it’s good, but almost worth watching at least once. And only once. Like, in the right mood, some of the insanity and Spacey’s performance, can be enjoyable in a dumb way.
I’m not quite calling it So Bad It’s Good, because it’s often a tad too boring for that, but honestly, a lot of the stuff with Kevin Spacey cat can be enjoyed in the right mood. And by mood, I mean If you’re drunk or something.
I know that isn’t the best endorsement, but at least that’s something. This won’t be on my Worst of the Year list, if only because it made me laugh more than anything in Madea Halloween. At least it’s over in 81 minutes.
So yeah, this movie is bad, like you all guessed. It just has some things stopping it from being AS bad as feared. It’s bad, just not horrible. But there’s not much of a reason to watch unless you appreciate unenthused Kevin Spacey like I do.
There isn’t too much else to say, I think the review summed it up well. I’m glad to be the first to do this film, as I haven’t see any real reviews crop while I was making this. All Hail Cat Kevin Spacey!
Well, that the most fun I’ve had on a review in a while. The next Scene by Scene Review shall be…next month…which is December. Holy Crap, Christmas already? Where does the time go?
I know what I’m doing, just not the order. So it’ll be a surprise for you as well as me. In the meantime, join me next Thursday for a Thanksgiving Special.