That Darn Cat 1997
Twenty-two years after the original, Christina Ricci takes Hayley Mills’ role as the smalltown teenager whose assertive tomcat D.C. unravels a kidnapping plot like a ball of yarn, much to the chagrin of the bungling kidnappers.
First off, I’ll confess, I’m not really a kitty lover. That cozy, cuddly feeling cat people get from their pet escapes me. I hold to the theory that if felines were as big as us, there wouldn’t be any us left. Next on my objection list, the over-tried-and-true movie teen, who’s quick-witted wisecracks would put Noel Coward to shame. Here, Ms. Ricci stays close to her familiar Wednesday Addams persona, all garbed in black, with attitude and contempt for one and all. Are all teens really like this? Must be a lot of fun for you parents! Then we have the film itself, a remake of the nominally amusing ’65 film which starred Hayley Mills as the inquisitive youngster with the mischievous tabby and Dean Jones as the inept G-man. Mr. Jones is back,now playing a millionaire who’s maid has been mistakenly kidnapped in place of his pampered wife (Dyan Cannon). The tomcat (D.C.) finds the abducted woman, who attaches her wrist watch to his neck. Soon his teen owner discovers the new collar, and figures it must belong to the missing woman. She contacts the FBI, who send out their version of Inspector Clouseau (Doug E. Doug) to investigate the juvenile’s far-fetched cat tale. Lots of people pop up who know their way around a comic situation, such as Peter Boyle, Estelle Parsons and Doug E. Doug, who’s proven an funny foil on Bill Cosby’s sitcom. But without the proper material, they also prove that talented actors can be just as lost on the big screen as this season’s Saturday Night Live cast. So what have we got here? A charmless cat, a smart mouth teenager, a transparent comedy containing few laughs. I hope there is never a third version of this one, because I’d rather buy a pussycat than sit through this feline fluff again.