Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is wittier than it should be


Featuring the voices of Christina Applegate, Bette Midler, and Nick Nolte. Rated PG. Opens Friday, July 30, at the Cinemark Tinseltown

On one level, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is a hyperactive mess—think those old talking-animal flicks jacked up with 3-D special effects and video-game action. But it is also about a hundred times more witty than it has any right to be, sending up everything from James Bond movies to The Silence of the Lambs. Not that the kids are going to get any of that. No, for them there are butt-sniffing jokes, adorable dancing squirrels, and things that go boom.

Watch the trailer for Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

The Vancouver-shot sequel to the 2001 original finds cats and dogs forced to work together to fight an evil rogue spy who wants to take over the world: the hairless Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler in over-the-top, Cruella De Vil splendour).

After brilliant 007-tribute opening credits that boast a Shirley Bassey theme song, Cats & Dogs digresses into a giant chase. We bounce from spy-dog headquarters, complete with bathrooms filled with fire hydrants, to the shagadelic cat high command, where Roger Moore voices bow-tied boss Tab. In the best scene (for adults, anyway), the first film’s fluffy white feline Tinkles, now jailed Hannibal Lecter–style in an underground cell with a face mask, psychoanalyzes the spy dogs visiting him and recounts the last time he enjoyed a pigeon with a plate of Fancy Feast: “fhth, fhth, fhth, fhth.”

As for the effects, the creatures don’t just move their mouths believably but can widen their eyes as if to say “What the”¦?” They’re anthropomorphized to the max, but there are so many cats and dogs to keep track of here that it’s hard to connect with one charming mutt or feline. Still, they move fast enough—flashing ample Bond-worthy gadgetry—to have at least nine lives at the box office.

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