Kevin Spacey, if you’re desperate for money you can just ask me for a loan, you don’t need to go demeaning yourself like this…
“Nine Lives” is a comedy film (used in the loosest of terms) from director Barry Sonnenfeld, who brought us the Men in Black series. It stars Kevin Spacey as a business tycoon/absentee father who gets his soul stuck inside a cat, and he must learn to bond with his wife and daughter or be trapped as a feline forever. Sound dumb? You don’t know the half of it.
When I saw this trailer a few months ago, I thought it was a joke. It had to be. An SNL skit or Jimmy Kimmel sketch gone too far, I thought. But no, it is very, very real. Kevin Spacey, alongside Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner, agreed to be in this. But this movie is so unfunny, so lazy and so just plain not good, there is no way these distinguished (or in Garner’s case, well-off) actors would agree to do a film like this unless they were in serious financial trouble or the studio had some sort of blackmail on them.
This is pretty much the plot of “The Shaggy Dog,” that 2006 Tim Allen remake no one remembers, only at least the filmmakers there tried. Here, Spacey just sleepwalks through his voiceover work, with a more monotone delivery than “American Beauty” or “House of Cards” (which, again, is that not paying well enough or something?).
But big time actors ham it up in children’s movies all the time. Maybe there are some life lessons to be learned in this. After all, this is a PG family romp about a talking cat. Well you’re in luck, “Nine Lives” will introduce your kids to the important troubles the real world has to offer! Situations including, but not limited to: comas, absentee fathers, extramarital affairs, cooperate espionage, alcoholism, divorce, animal abuse and suicide, the latter of which had my friend and I slowly turn to each other in shock when the scene occurred.
There are two (intentional) laughs in this film and I will give the film credit, both of them are pretty funny. But that’s two laughs in 87 minutes; 87 very long, very felt minutes. There are also a half dozen unintentional hysterical moments, including Kevin Spacey falling off a building in a thunderstorm and getting caught on a line before crashing a few windows below. It’s honestly hilarious and in no way was that their goal.
“Nine Lives” isn’t aggressively terrible in a frustrating way like, say, “Fantastic Four,” but it is truly a very bad film. The only reason this “comedy” won’t derail Kevin Spacey’s career is no one will ever watch this outside of military interrogation rooms. Cats may get nine lives, but you only get one, and you shouldn’t waste any moments of it watching this film.
Critics Rating: 3/10