Growing up in the 2000’s meant growing up with plenty of live-action / animation hybrid movies. The most beloved cartoon icons all had one, from the hilariously adult ‘Scooby Doo’ movies to the fever dreams that were ‘Garfield: The Movie’ and ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’. As a child I had always wondered why ‘Tom and Jerry’ never got the same treatment and watching this movie now as an adult, I finally know why.
About ten minutes into this movie, I got a horribly worrying thought; am I simply too old to find ‘Tom and Jerry’ funny? I quickly went on YouTube to watch one of the original shorts and within a matter of minutes, I was in tears from laughing so hard. That feeling was never once replicated throughout this hour and a half movie. As someone who grew up watching the multiple variations of this wacky duo, this movie never once felt like a genuine attempt to recreate what made this cat and mouse so damn funny. The way this movie recreates some of the funniest bits from the original shorts never felt like an homage, it always came off as a lazy attempt to be funny. I feel like this movie thinks it can get away with stealing so much from those shorts by passing it off as an homage when in reality this movie feels like a tired rerun.
Every single decision this movie makes further proves how horrible of an idea this movie was. The problematic nature of the movie probably lies within the fact that lead is someone who lies thier way to a position at a hotel and still gets rewarded by the end. This is a movie very clearly targeted towards children and yet we have one of the worst possible leads for a children’s movie. Not to mention the fact that the actual plot revolves around a couple who is going to get married, what kind of child wants to watch couple / wedding drama. The cast is doing the most with what they’re given which is a shame considering Michael Peña and Ken Jeong are in this movie. It’s also very confusing for a movie to have such a diverse cast which really shows off the diversity of New York City only to then have the white lead get her Spanish-American co-worker fired and make him the villain, not to mention having an African-American character solely to eventually help our white lead fix her mistakes. It’s questionable choices like these which made me think, why does this movie even exist?
The inclusion of the cat and mouse felt very shoe-horned, this rarely felt like their own movie, it belonged to Chloe Grace Moretz’ horrible lead. Whenever Tom and Jerry were on-screen, it felt like a genuinely lifeless imitation and the reason behind that was not only because of the incredible lack of originality with the slapstick humor but also the animation. One of the only redeeming qualities this movie has going for it is the animation but it ultimately contradicts itself because despite it looking incredible, it just isn’t made for the type of physical humor ‘Tom and Jerry’ is known for. Whenever they made a joke using physical humor, it just never worked. It never helped how they put hip-hop over almost every scene in the movie, including the ones where they beat each other up. The most this movie did was made me smile when Tom would get repeatedly beaten up by something. There is this really gorgeous looking scene where Tom tries to get to Jerry who is in the hotel and it’s raining at night. Both of them looked amazing visually, the gags weren’t personally funny but visually it looked incredible. In fact they look great most of the time and the live-action cast does a fantastic job of interacting with them, it felt weirdly believable. It’s genuinely bizarre to think that multiple direct-to-dvd movies with these characters had a better understanding of what the franchise is than a theatrical movie.
All in all, if I was a parent and I wanted to sit down with my children to watch some ‘Tom and Jerry’, I would go watch the multitude of shorts because it’s a guarantee that they will get more out of it. This movie is just a collection of questionable choices which ultimately makes you question its existence. It’s not really made for anyone and it doesn’t hold any entertainment value which is the complete opposite of what the ‘Tom and Jerry’ franchise is actually like. You’re better off watching anything else this cat and mouse duo are in, except for the other theatrical release they were in which was also a mistake. Moral of the story is, ‘Tom and Jerry’ are not meant to be on the big screen for more than eight minutes.