The beloved duo of Tom & Jerry have been a staple form of entertainment for generations. The slapstick humour and crazy anarchy of their eternal cat vs. mouse struggle has always been a short, sharp fix for laughs. So when news of a brand new movie surfaced, I was a little apprehensive that the concept would struggle to fill an entire film – especially if it was approached in the wrong way. Sadly this version of Tom & Jerry does just that.
This should have been an easy win, but somehow the filmmakers of Tom and Jerry: The Movie have managed to deliver a messy and unsatisfying attempt at updating a classic. Its biggest sin is that Tom and Jerry are not even in their own movie very much – instead too much time and money is spent on the human cast and a story that doesn’t ignite any real interest. Call me old fashioned but I want to see the cat and the mouse front and centre of a Tom & Jerry film, not an overblown story about a celebrity couple looking to tie the knot at a prestigious New York hotel.
This premise is not utilised well enough at all, despite some great cast members who all deserved much better from this lacklustre script. Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney all try in vain to ignite some much needed energy into the movie. It’s not their fault, its just a bad core story that curtails their efforts at every opportunity.
Pallavi Sharda and Colin Jost play a celebrity Insta couple who are looking for the perfect wedding reception. They plan to have it at a 5 star hotel in Manhattan, who are looking for extra staff to help out with the big occasion. Enter Chloe Moretz as Kayla – a chancer who cheats her way onto the staff after lying about her qualifications and identity.
Elsewhere Tom the cat spends his days wishing he was a famous piano player (?) and busking for money in central park. Jerry the mouse shows up and right from the get-go is a jerk, stealing his money and breaking his keyboard. Their fight takes them to the luxury hotel where Jerry makes a tidy escape to bowels of the building. Seeing that there’s now a mouse problem in his establishment, the manager Mr Dubros (Rob Delaney) tasks Kayla with getting rid of it. So she ‘hires’ Tom to take care of business. All of this is under the watchful gaze of hotel assistant Terence (Michael Peña), who suspects that Kayla is lying.
Tom and Jerry don’t speak in this movie which at least honours that part of their legacy. However, this could also be construed as a protest on behalf of the cat and mouse at how disappointed they are at the finished product – who truly knows? All I do know is that they certainly deserved much more from a film carrying their iconic brand. Once they knock heads, it’s all classic Tom & Jerry hijinks – with both of them taking a good-natured battering from one another. But these scenes are few and far between which is a shame.
Tom & Jerry is exactly the type of big studio blockbuster mess that should have been quality checked long before it got released. It’s a simple premise but you need a decent story or why even bother? One thing they did get right was that the animation remains 2D in a 3D world, and that was nicely done a’ la Roger Rabbit. But ultimately, a film called Tom & Jerry needs Tom & Jerry actually in it. The fact that they are bystanders in their own movie is all you need to know. A poor and really disappointing effort considering the talent involved. Watch some classic cartoons instead – you’ll be glad you did.
Cast: Tom the Cat, Jerry the Mouse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Pallavi Sharda, Colin Jost, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney Director: Tim Story Writer: Kevin Costello Certificate: PG Duration: 101 mins Released by: Warner Bros Release date: Out Now