“Nine Lives,” Kevin Spacey’s new family comedy about a stuffy businessman who finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat, is now in theaters. The movie is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and also co-stars Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken and Robbie Amell. The first reviews are in, and it’s not looking like critics are wild about this feline flick.
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich gave the film a D, writing in his review: “Cats may have nine lives, but you only get one, and it’s too precious to waste on this drivel. You’re better off watching a gif of a cat whose face is stuck in a slice of bread. It will save you $20 and a few hours of your time.”
Owen Gleiberman of Variety was not a fan either, writing, “‘Nine Lives’ is a lot like a cat: It occasionally bestirs itself, and it would like to be stroked with love, but mostly it just sits there. It’s a pet farce so flat it makes you long for the Lubitsch touch of the ‘Alvin’ comedies.” He also adds, “Spacey, who is known in showbiz circles for his wicked improvisations, could probably have made up wittier dialogue in his sleep. He’s hamstrung by this glum paycheck dud, and so is everyone else.”
“Even ‘Cat Fancy’ subscribers will hate it,” states The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore. “‘Nine Lives’ gives viewers plenty of out-of-place ex-wife-hating barbs; groan-worthy feline puns; an apparent suicide attempt; some acting that an experienced director should never have allowed onto the screen; and an unusually gruesome color palette,” explains the critic. “And if you think it’s going to fail to include a ‘Hang in There, Baby’ joke, Sonnenfeld will beat that sight gag into the ground to make sure you don’t miss it. Sometimes, though, letting go of that rope is the best thing a poor cat can do.”
Forbe’s Scott Mendelson compared the picture to the hyped-up DC Comics supervillain film also being released today, “I’m not saying the movie is ‘good,’ but if I’m honest I will admit that, yes, I liked it more than ‘Suicide Squad.’ Yes, that makes me want to cry too,” he writes.
“‘Nine Lives’ is a badly made, mostly unfunny film, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (‘Men In Black’), a filmmaker not historically known for his participation in cheaply-produced kid’s stuff like this,” notes The Wrap’s Dave White. Though he does add that, “the surprise, then, is that ‘Nine Lives,’ for all its formal badness, is also a fascinatingly odd film.”
The movie is now playing in theaters.