February 26th, 2021
MOVIE: TOM AND JERRY
STARRING: CHLOE GRACE MORETZ, MICHAEL PENA, COLIN JOST, ROB DELANEY
DIRECTED BY: TIM STORY
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
It’s late Friday night and I am writing my review for Tom and Jerry out of spite. That’s right, I stayed up and watched this painful kids movie, and by god am I going to have a review for the people. Not because I want to relive this ghastly excuse for entertainment, but because my hope is that families might decide to spend their time on something more memorable. This is the first time since 1992 that the cartoon cat and mouse have been on screen and it shows, where director Tim Story injects the combative duo into the live-action world, and instantly forgets why audiences would want to see Tom and Jerry in the first place. It’s not that there aren’t a few moments of Tom getting run over by a bus, or Jerry scurrying around the streets of New York, it’s that you won’t see enough of them. Tom and Jerry find more time to focus on the humans than the animated animals, and because of that, your kids will be bored, and parents will be clawing out their eyes. .
The story is not complicated: Jerry (the mouse) is in New York looking for a place to live, Tom (the cat) is just trying to find his place in the world, and Kayla (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is looking for a new job. She swindles her way into getting work at the new Golden Gate Hotel, under the wings of delusional manager Mr. Dubros (Rob Delaney) and his assistant Terence (Michael Pena with a performance that is nails on a chalkboard bad). The big event coming up is the wedding of Ben (Colin Jost) and Preeta (Pallavi Sharda) but when the staff finds out that Jerry mouse has moved in, Kayla is put in charge to get him out before the wedding. She enlists the help of our cat Tom, which involves chasing Jerry on a motorized skateboard, some damage to the hotel, and Kayla keeping her job by a thread. The narrative of Tom and Jerry is more about the confidence of Kayla and the title characters are voiceless animated bystanders observing a three dimensional world.
If the goal of director Tim Story and writer Kevin Costelllo was to make a kid friendly adventure with hilarious hijinx, might I introduce you to something else? Because Tom and Jerry doesn’t have any of that. There was a solid thirty minutes before I even gave a soft “heh” and I think that might have been because I wanted to wake myself up. The cast of actors is also the strangest cobbled collection of actors I have ever seen. Colin Jost is not only not suited for being an actor, he’s not suited for being an extra. The SNL writer can’t seem to deliver lines without waiting for the laughs. Pena gives his character a weird accent, trying to replicate his humor in the Ant-Man movies, and only ends up annoying. The only actor unscathed might be Moretz, who’s having enough fun playing off her animated co-stars, but the script continues to have her moving from one hotel problem to the next. What about Tom crashing through walls? What about Jerry setting up traps? There is a bit of a Rube Goldberg sequence, where one object is falling into the next, but Tom and Jerry nearly put me into a comatose state of boredom to enjoy that.
Although the expectation of Tom and Jerry isn’t high, the least an audience can expect is to be entertained. None of that happens here. The sets are glossy backdrops, the animation is distracting, the song selection is not remotely coherent with the narrative, and I couldn’t wait for it to end. Tom and Jerry is long and painful. I would have rather been hit in the head with a giant mallet. At least that might have woken me up.
TOM AND JERRY IS NOW PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON HBOMAX
Written by: Leo Brady