A feline gets on top of Halle Berry and
coughs up a hairball on her, for making
cats look bad.
Review written by: Alex Sandell
Wow, does this movie blow. The story of Catwoman, as told through the hyperactive minds of three screenwriters and a director named Pitof, who seems to be going out of his way to emulate a director named McG (Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle) is about a cosmetics company releasing a cream that will either cause your face to disintegrate or turn you into a super villain. The product is being sold to the public as a cream meant to reverse the aging process.
Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) stumbles upon a group of corporate baddies -- and one scientist with newfound ethics -- talking about the negative side-effects the drug has on women. When she's caught, they decide to flush her out. After she's murdered, about 40 cats and one partially-CG feline bring her back to life and bless her with pussy power. They also give her really bad fashion sense and a knack for spitting out some of the corniest one-liners in the history of film.
With "badass" lines like, "my bad," "guess what? It's overtime!" "I knew there was a spark between us" (said when Catwoman sees a livewire dangling between herself and her alter-ego's charisma-free love interest) and "meow" -- I started wondering if Hollywood was doing a sort of Special Olympics thing for screenwriters.
The knuckleheads writing this soundtrack commercial couldn't even get Catwoman's name right (her name in the comics, the cartoons and in Batman Returns is Selina Kyle). Maybe it's for the best, being that they sure as hell couldn't get Catwoman herself to even remotely resemble the hero/villain comic book geeks have grown to love over the years.
After receiving her powers, Catwoman heads to Fisher and Sons Funeral Home and meets up with Ruth Fisher. Actually, it's merely Frances Conroy playing a bizarre hybrid of the mother she portrays on HBO's Six Feet Under and Spider-Man's Uncle Ben. She lets Catwoman/Patience know that she is one of many in a long line of cat women. These women are blessed and cursed. They can never love and live a normal life, but their heightened cat senses allow them to be freer than normal women. I think she then mentions something about great power going along with great responsibility and throws Patience a bag of catnip.
There are a few moments in the film that are amusing. The way Patience scarfs down cans and cans of tuna, after receiving her feline senses, for one. The way Patience looks at tropical fish swimming around in their tank at a seafood restaurant -- eyes skirting back and forth, just like a cat's. The way she slurps down sushi at the restaurant, as her boyfriend, Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) looks on in amazement (just as Tom Hanks did when Daryl chomped into her seafood in Splash). Okay, they're all variations of the same joke, but there wasn't much to work with in this film, so I guess they took the best they had and ran with it.
The rest of the movie? There's not much there, unless you count the numerous pop songs and fast-motion shots that look like the cut scenes on the dearly departed television series, Angel. The fact that WB cancelled Angel and greenlighted Catwoman had me wondering if Hollywood was doing a sort of Special Olympics thing for studio heads.
We meet Patience's best friend Sally (Alex Borstein) and her gay cubicle neighbor, whose name I can't recall. He serves no purpose in the film, other than to reaffirm to narrow-minded straight people that all gays are zany, oversexed, inappropriate and over-the-top.
There's a couple of sitcom-ish scenes between the trio and Tom Lone, who's returning the wallet Patience dropped on her way to work, after she nearly died climbing on a window air-conditioning unit to save a cat (it later turns out the cat was merely testing her, to see if she had what it takes to become a cat woman. It's never explained why the cat gave a shit.). Detective Lone asks Patience out on a date. The whole time Sally and the gay dude make all these comical faces at the camera, causing me to wonder if Hollywood was doing a sort of Special Olympics thing for character actors.
That's not to say our lead actress does any better. If you thought Halle Berry was miscast as Storm in X-Men and X-Men 2, you better brace yourself, because you ain't seen nothin' yet! She is awful in this film. She plays the insecure Patience Phillips side of her character in about the same way that Hillary Duff played a geek in A Cinderella Story. When she pulls out the leather and gets out the whip, she makes Hillary Duff look like a scene stealing Thespian.
When I first saw the Catwoman outfit on the big screen, I started wondering if Hollywood was doing a sort of Special Olympics thing for costume designers. This costume is so unnatural and impractical (even Prince takes off his heels when he wants to get funky); it makes me long for Batman's rubber nipples.
The whole getup is supposed to look sexy, but comes off more as something Gene Simmons would wear in the glam heyday of KISS. It's made all the worse by Halle Berry's comical cat walk. She mechanically moves her ass back and forth like it's the pendulum of a Grandfather clock. There's no soul in those finely shaped buttocks. .
The outfit, along with Berry's idea of being titillating, elicited its fair share of laughs from the audience. When Catwoman goes to a nightclub and smashes a bunch of glass around her and begins cracking her virtual whip (the whip is primarily CG), there was giggling throughout the audience.
The REAL comedy begins when you see Halle get on all fours and turn into a CG version of her as she crawls and pounces across rooftops. The only thing dorkier than Halle Berry trying to look hot in that cat outfit is a bunch of dweebs at a computer trying to recreate Halle Berry trying to look hot in that cat outfit.
Although Warner Bros. marketing seems to be doing everything to hide it, Sharon Stone plays the arch villain in this movie. Stone vamps it up as Laurel Hedare. Laurel's been using the anti-aging cosmetic for so long, she's turned superhuman. She feels no pain! She claims her skin is like marble! She gets to spit out lots of lousy one-liners (but not nearly as many as Catwoman) and make lots of mean faces at the camera. She's Catwoman's nemesis, but Catwoman doesn't really do much with her, until the end of the film.
Every damn thing about the movie is shallow. There are no layers to the plot and no development for the characters. Laurel Hedare is bad because her husband cheats on her and she uses facial cream (hey, it'd make a good SNL skit). Her husband cheats on her and makes facial cream so Laurel can be bad. Detective Lone is a Detective so he can love Patience as he pursues Catwoman. Sally's there to make sex jokes and the gay cubicle guy is there because they already found five people to star in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Why is this movie here? That's a lot harder to answer. How could Warner Bros. follow-up the disaster that was Batman and Robin with something even worse? Armpit, or whatever his name is, directs the entire film like an MTV video. He has no sense of pacing. He does nothing to draw the audience in to Catwoman's world. Apparently, he thought Halle Berry's cleavage and tight leather pants would do all the work for him. He was mistaken.
After watching fifteen or twenty minutes of his directing I started wondering if Hollywood was doing a sort of Special Olympics thing for directors. Catwoman meows, purrs, and hisses, but mostly just sucks.
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