Tom And Jerry: The Movie isn’t terrible. Nor is it the pinnacle of mediocrity. But it comes pretty darn close.
The timeless cat and mouse shenanigans of Tom And Jerry are legendary. For over seven decades they have enthralled us with their rib-tickling hijinks, hilarious slapstick, and comedic tomfoolery. In the cartoon realm, it is a recipe for success. But does it translate when the dynamic duo are thrust into our world?
Tom And Jerry: The Movie | Warner Bros. Animation
Absolutely not. If you were looking forward to a review full of praise, positivity, and my customary dose of enthusiasm – look away now. This isn’t that kind of review. Tom And Jerry: The Movie isn’t terrible. Nor is it the pinnacle of mediocrity. But it comes pretty darn close.
In case you’re wondering, the plot is a basic as they come. Tom, our beloved feline menace is traveling to the Big Apple with aspirations of becoming a world-renowned piano player. For some reason! Jerry, the lovable little mouse of mischief is traveling to New York City in search of a new home. For some reason! The reasoning behind their sudden downturn in fortunes is never addressed, so feel free to make your own mind up.
After arriving in the big city, and another typical rendezvous of mischief between the duo, we are introduced to Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz). A small-time con artist who lies her way into the Royal Gate Hotel and the job of her dreams. She is tasked with helping event manager Terence Mendoza (Michael Peña) plan the wedding between the rich couple, Ben and Preeta (Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda). This involves her teaming with Tom to rid the hotel of its rodent problem – because Jerry has taken up residency within the lavish rooms of the hotel. Of course!
This setting would be perfect for a seven-minute cartoon. But for a feature-length movie, it wears thin pretty fast. This is why we rely on our intrepid human cast to see us through. But with a screenplay as wafer-thin as this, it’s an impossible and thankless task. Aside from feeling like a vehicle for Chloë Grace Moretz, the cast uses the material for what it truly is. A quick payday. Quickly moving from cringe-worthy scene to cringe-worthy scene as quickly as possible; desperate for the monotony to end.
None suffer more from this than Michael Peña who does what he can with the material he was given. But sadly, finds his worth limited to picking up animated dog poop. Other comedic stars like Rob Delany and Ken Jeong find themselves resigned to bit-parts and terrible dialogue. Which in this case is their good fortune. A bullet well and truly dodged.
Although the story may be subpar, the animation is what keeps this movie from sinking entirely. The animation team has worked tirelessly to recreate Tom, Jerry, and several of their accomplices for this movie. And for the most part, it pays off. The notion of removing real-life creatures and replacing them with animated versions may be a bold choice. But it works. And thankfully, it pays off when we see some of the old Tom And Jerry spirit come alive.
The scene where Tom is trying to invade the hotel via a clothing line in the middle of a thunderstorm is pure gold. And we do get a sense of fun and frolics in places. But sadly, these moments are few and far between, and they find themselves sidelined by the cringe-worthy on-off love affair between the soon-to-be-married Ben and Preeta.
Ben is a father-in-law kiss ass who is spoiling the couple’s wedding, and Preeta is getting cold feet just hours before her big day. What this has to do with a cartoon cat and mouse is a mystery, aside from trying to teach the audience the value of teamwork. But by using all of the same stale, outdated tropes of moves like Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, and The Smurfs, it’s pretty much eye-rolling at best.
It seems absurd to be this critical over a kid’s film. But when you are toying with a property as rich and beloved as Tom And Jerry, the bar is set pretty high. And for the most part, director Tim Story doesn’t have the faintest idea of what to do with them. Both Tom and Jerry find themselves sidelined by a laborious storyline in their own movie, and that is criminal.
These characters have legions of adoring fans who will be desperate to introduce their children to the property. But sadly, they will be left rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at a cheap and superficial cash grab that screams irrelevance.
Tom And Jerry: The Movie is distributed by Warner Bros. and is available to rent on PVOD now.
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!