Puss in Boots (2011)


Is It True That a Cat Always Lands on It’s Feet?

I take no shame in the fact that I have never cared for the Shrek series.  They never worked for me, and I could not be swayed by the accolades showered upon it by the majority of the people I’ve spoken to about the series.  Regardless of my aversion, they still managed to crank out four of the things, all of which dropped in quality exponentially with each release.  The second Shrek movie introduced a new character based on an older fairy tale, and one that gained popularity due to the character’s cuteness.  When they finally felt that they had drained the life out of the Shrek series, Dreamworks found a way to get a few more drops out of the series by taking that character and giving him a spinoff.  Let’s see how that went in my review for Puss in Boots, written by Tom Wheeler, Brian Lynch, and Will Davies, directed by Chris Miller, and starring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris, Billy Bob Thornton, Constance Marie, and Guillermo del Toro.

Before the time when Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) met Shrek, he had a few adventures of his own.  The most notable is when he teamed up with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and his old friend from their orphan childhood Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).  Puss and Humpty had a spotty past.  As Puss was becoming the hero of their small town, Humpty was getting into trouble.  It escalated until Humpty tricked Puss into robbing a bank with him, leaving both to lives as outlaws, a title that followed Puss around, even though he left Humpty to his fate with the guards.  Seemingly reformed, Humpty manages to talk Puss into joining him and Kitty in their quest for the magic beans that will lead them to the Golden Goose, with the promise that the goose’s golden eggs will be used to pay back their small town for what they stole so many years ago.  Their first step is to acquire the magic beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris).

Anything to do with Shrek still fails to hit home with me.  This was a cute movie, and one that kids will probably love, but it doesn’t have very much to offer adults.  The story is fine enough.  There’s a whole story of redemption, adventure, and betrayal, and you probably won’t see parts of it coming.  The problem was that the comedy wasn’t really there, and the action was toned down and spread out.  Most of their comedy was vaguely slapsticky for the kids, but they rarely ventured into something for adults.  One attempt they made was a joke about “golden eggs” in the beginning, and indicating towards someone’s balls for it.  This was okay for adults, and probably over the heads of kids, but it was only vaguely funny.  The most comedy I found in the movie was based around Puss acting like a cat.  When he started chasing a light around, trying to catch it, it was both cute and amusing in the same way as it is when my cats do it.  And by that, I mean that I get bored after 30 seconds and kick them to make them stop acting retarded.  You can’t catch light!  I am so intellectually superior to you!  They had a couple action scenes, but ruined a couple of them with strange choices.  After a rooftop pursuit, Puss finally catches up with the masked cat that ruined his heist and, to settle the score, they start a dance battle.  He’s carrying a sword, y’know?  I won’t spoil it for you by saying who got served in this fight, but someone should’ve gotten skewered instead.  There were a few other hit-and-miss action scenes in the movie, but the good ones were too short and the others were just missed opportunities.  There’s also a lot of set up to a gigantic, scary creature called The Terror that ends up being pretty disappointing.  I understand that their choice to make the creature not as scary as they built it up to was their choice, but it was kind of a buzzkill.

The cast performed well, but were also fairly disappointing.  I don’t really understand the choice to take people like Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek and turn them into cats.  The bulk of the appeal for those two people is their looks, so taking that away makes me lose my interest.  They did a good enough job at it, but I’d rather just go watch Desperado.  That way, I can see Salma’s boobs.  The biggest disappoint for me was Zach Galifianakis.  Zach was one of my favorite comedians long before everyone else jumped on board when he did the Hangover (Hipster statement), but he seemed to not be allowed to be funny in this movie.  Most of his comedy is probably stuff that could not be included in a kid friendly movie, but his character in this movie either attempted comedy with a couple of really bad puns, or occasionally with some physical humor that really had nothing to do with him.  He performed the character well, but I wished they would’ve let the funniest person in this movie be funny a little.  Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris performed their parts well also, but weren’t in it very much.

I can’t say that I really expected that much going into this movie.  I knew it was a kid movie, and I knew that it would have similarities to the Shrek series that never interested me, but I give these things a chance.  The story was fine, but the comedy flopped, and the good performances felt wasted.  Your kids will probably like this – as they’ll probably like anything with moving shapes that fall down occasionally – but you might get bored by the halfway point.  You can skip this movie.  Puss in Boots gets “It ain’t over-easy!” out of “You have made the cat angry.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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