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[Short Reviews]


With Cats & Dogs, director Lawrence (Antz) Guterman elevates the war between house pets to Mission: Impossible–like heights. Ninja cats parachute at night with the help of infrared goggles and dogs travel to their underground world headquarters in rocket ships as both sides vie for the honor of being man’s best friend. Beagle puppy Lou (voiced by Tobey Maguire) squares off against the evil Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), the Persian mastermind behind the cats’ power-hungry plan. Meanwhile, Lou’s clueless owners bumble through their own issues: Mrs. Brody (Elizabeth Perkins), real-estate agent and doting mother, is trying to get her aloof, mad-scientist husband (Jeff Goldblum) and her soccer-obsessed son (Alexander Pollock) to bond.

Despite the humorous exposé of what really goes on once humans leave the house, this film’s target audience appears to be six-year-olds. The underdog theme and the big dog–little dog dynamics attest that the abilities of the special-effects crew surpass those of the film’s writers. Or its actors. Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, and the rest lend little more than their voices to our four-footed friends.

By Julia Cohen

Issue Date: July 5-12, 2001