Conventional wisdom has it that cats and dogs do not get along. Cats and dogs hate each other, and that’s all there is to it. Well, many of us know that this is not true. Cats and dogs can actually be best buddies. But still the cats vs. dogs theme continues, right along with another theme: Dogs are good, and cats are evil. Dogs are man’s best friend, and cats are evil. Dogs are heroic, and cats are evil.
Which brings me to the 2001 film, Cats & Dogs, directed by Lawrence Guterman.
Your pets are really spies
In the world of Cats & Dogs, pets are not just pets. Dogs (some of them, anyway) are secret agents, and one of their missions is to protect the Brody household as Professor Brody (Jeff Goldblum) works on his secret formula. This formula will cure humans’ allergies to dogs, making it possible for even more dogs to live with even more humans. Cats do not want this to happen. A fluffy white cat named Mr. Tinkles (evil, obviously; voiced by Sean Hayes) plans to derail Brody’s efforts by stealing the formula and making all humans allergic to dogs. Then he can take over the world.
The movie opens with a rollicking good chase scene as cats sent by Mr. Tinkles abduct the Brodys’ dog, who was the key agent protecting them from the horrors of the cat conspiracy. His disappearance opens the door for a new agent, and a beagle puppy named Lou (Tobey Maguire), who has absolutely no training as a secret agent, moves in.
Lou now has to guard the house while Mr. Tinkles’ minions attempt to break in and steal the anti-allergy formula. He also has to try to be a friend to young Scotty Brody, who basically wants nothing to do with him. There is a little family drama too, with Professor Brody so caught up in working on his formula, he just can’t find time for poor Scotty. Also, Scotty sucks at soccer.
Okay, so we thought it was funny…
Yes, I started out by complaining about the whole “dogs good, cats evil” theme—and for the record, that still annoys me—but we still had a pretty good time watching this movie. A bunch of cats driving a limo and impurrsonating (sorry!) a human? Come on, that’s funny.
This movie has some basic flaws that we think hold it back from being a true cat classic. We wish the story had been a little different, to show cats and dogs working together to protect humans. We wish they could have fit at least one female in among the secret agents. (Okay, yes, there is one, but she’s there mainly to be pretty and be the love interest for one of the male dogs. Yeesh. Hello, 21st century?)
Still and all, Cats & Dogs is basically what you get if you transmogrify Mission: Impossible into a madcap family comedy starring pets. Judged on those terms, it’s not half bad. Just don’t try to take it seriously.
Oh, and ...
A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good movie; two paws is for a great movie. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!
The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the movie through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!