Thursday, March 4, 2021

Hotchka Movie Review: Tom & Jerry

© Warner Bros. Pictures

The film’s style immediately reminded me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit but less appealing.
by Justin Moore
Rating: ★

Every Friday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM, between the years 2011 and 2015, I watched classic Tom and Jerry cartoons. The daycare I worked at was obsessed with the Hanna-Barbera pair and so was I. I spent hours and hours laughing at the cat and mouse trying to hurt each other. We never watched the countless straight to DVD Tom and Jerry movies, just the old cartoons. The movies never reached the enjoyment level I had for the show and unfortunately that is how I feel about the new film from Tim Story.

The legendary rivalry returns as Jerry the mouse moves into New York City’s finest hotel. Chasing Jerry throughout the hotel is Tom the cat, who threatens to destroy the wedding of the century. Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), who recently started working at the hotel, is tasked with getting rid of the mouse and hires Tom to help her out.

Tim Story, director of Fantastic Four, Think Like a Man, and Barbershop, brings the rivalry in an animated form in the human world. The film’s style immediately reminded me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit but less appealing. Story is a fine director but honestly, anyone could have directed this movie. Story doesn’t provide any flair or style to the movie, which leads to the movie feeling bland, despite the crazy antics of Tom and Jerry.

With many animated characters getting live action films (Garfield, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo), it is often a problem for them to get lost in the mix. While I did laugh at Tom and Jerry trying to hurt each other, I found myself constantly irritated by the abundance of human characters. Besides Moretz, Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, and Colin Jost round out the cast with pointless storylines. In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Kayla, who lies about her qualifications when she applies for a job at the famous hotel. Right away she is a character who is hard to understand or root for because of the way she manipulates people. As the movie moves along, the characters enter in the story when they have no reason for being there. If I was forced to not look up the characters names, I wouldn’t be able to name them for you, they are that forgettable.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

When it comes to Tom and Jerry, it’s entertaining. It feels as though they were swept under a rug and not given a proper story in the film for them to feel like the main part. Their interactions feel brief but still put a smile on my face. There are a few movie references such as Batman and The Shining that made me laugh. I personally would have loved to see most of the human characters cut out of the film. I understand that most people wouldn’t want to see Tom and Jerry run around a hotel for 90 minutes, so some human characters would have to be written in. I think the movie would have worked better if the only main character was Kayla and she kept getting in trouble for things at work but it was Tom and Jerry causing all the problems and she tried to capture the two.

The film isn’t terrible but it isn’t memorable by any means. Tom and Jerry have been around for years and are considered to be iconic cartoon characters and they deserve better than this. They got lost in the numerous human stories that had no need to be there. But it is still nice to know that after all these years, people still have interest in the pair and want to revisit it.

Tom & Jerry is in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max through March 28.

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