Released: 24th September
Seen: 18th October
In 2001, a silly little film called Cats & Dogs came out. No one would dare suggest it was anything more than a cinematic oddity with ninja cats that kept kids entertained for a few hours. It made a lot of money, almost tripling its budget and therefore was pretty much guaranteed a sequel which would happen in 2010 with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. It wasn’t quite as popular and the joke was wearing thin… so, naturally, due to the ten year cycle that the series appears to have built up that means that in 2020 we needed to get a sequel because God has abandoned us and we are doomed to walk the earth in never ending torment and pain.
From the writer of The Nut Job 2 and The Last Summer (so you should now have an idea the kind of script we’re working with) and the director of three movies in the Baby Geniuses franchise comes Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite. This “Film” hypotheses a world where cats and dogs have teamed up as part of an organisation known as Furry Animals Rivalry Termination (kill me). Working as part of this organisation is a dog called Roger (Max Greenfield) and a cat called Gwen (Melissa Raunch). One day all their tech goes out because an evil cockatoo named Pablo (George Lopez) has hacked their system to take Furry Animals Rivalry Termination (kill me) off the grid so the evil cockatoo will have the time to puts his plan to turn cats and dogs against each other into action… a plan which, somehow, will lead to animals that aren’t cats or dogs being bought as pets.
It was around the time that they revealed the Furry Animals Rivalry Termination acronym that I knew I was in trouble (can ya tell by my repeated pleas for death) then they kept going with an elongated joke about eating a shit filled diaper, and I started wondering if I could just set myself on fire… then another acronym was revealed and, while I don’t remember what the full four word phrase was, the acronym was “P.O.O.P.” and I actively felt my brain push the top of my head open and climb out, it waited for me in the car because it wanted nothing to do with this. This “Film” isn’t just poorly written, it’s almost actively aiming for the lowest possible ‘jokes’ because it knows it’s made for stupid little kids and stupid little kids laugh at the mere mention of poop… at least, I assume that was what they thought. I didn’t hear a single goddamn laugh at my screening because fortunately, I was surrounded by decent people who refused to let the “Film” win.
The entire story of the “Film” is just incredibly stupid, even by the pathetic standards of this franchise. Keep in mind the original film had ninja cats and the evil plan was that the cat version of Jack from Will & Grace wanted to make everyone allergic to dogs so he put a special chemical on a bunch of mice who would infect the planet and thus make cats the most popular pet… this “Film” is dumb in comparison to THAT plot, that’s how low we’ve sunk here. It’s a nonsensical plot where a bunch of animals who aren’t cats or dogs seek revenge because they’re never the ones who get to go home with people, except that’s BS because everyone knows that one guy who buys a bunch of snakes just to be cool.
The villains also apparently set off some kind of sound that makes all cats and dogs fight, which we are repeatedly reminded about in the news (because in this universe, cats and dogs fighting is something that makes the national news) but for some reason it never affects any character we meet despite the entire story taking place in one town. There are several scenes where dogs who do not take the magical drug (Oh, there’s a drug you can take that apparently makes the sound not affect you… because that’s how drugs work) interact with the cat and there isn’t a single bit of conflict between them, because conflict would be interesting.
Ok, Ok, maybe I’m being mean. Let me take a moment now to talk about the stuff I liked. There’s a recurring joke where the main cat and dog play rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors but neither one can figure out who won because their paws can’t really make a rock, some paper or a pair of scissors… that ends this moment about the stuff I liked, back to hatred.
Back to the topic of things that should be interesting but aren’t, the human characters in this “Film” have no personalities whatsoever. Sure the entire point of this “Film” is the nightmare images of the animals talking but there are a pair of human beings who this “Film” keeps reminding us exist because they do something that I believe is meant to resemble the human ritual of falling in love, as performed by aliens who just learned how to look and sound like us. One of them, the male one, is obsessed with playing Tennis and that is his entire character while the other child, the girl one, is obsessed with music and that is her entire character. They do not do anything else, they barely even factor into the main plot but are there because someone needs to physically own the nightmare creatures that are the actual leads of the film. Oh, and the boy child is there because at one point his mother needs to make a hilarious joke about how he does a lot of wanking in the bathroom because they needed to get one joke in there for the adults so this could get a PG rating to be considered edgy family comedy (Kill me!)
The way that they animate the animals talking somehow looks worse than it did back in 2001. At least then there was some kind of comical charm in the awkward attempts at face replacement and the use of weird puppet hands to sell the gags but this is 2020 and one of the biggest films in recent years had a realistic looking talking racoon… you think you could maybe do a little better? As it is, this “Film” feels like it’s a few decades out of date just from its concept but the actual look of the film feels like it was made in 2002. It’s a nightmare, everything looks genuinely awful and the puppeteering is always just bad.
The entire “Film” is an unfunny slog peppered with what I believe were meant to be jokes when someone asked “So, why exactly am I having to put a diaper on this dog?”. It’s pandering, using the combination of cute animals and scatological humour in hopes to make small children react to this external stimuli in a way that makes it seem like they’re in some way enjoying the objectively shit film that they’ve had thrust upon them. You would be doing your kids a service if you just played some animal clips on YouTube and did silly voices, it costs less and doesn’t expose them to this tripe.
Cats & Dogs 3 is bad enough to make you consider listening to batshit groups like PETA because sure, PETA is evil but if they had their way we might not have to have films like this anymore and I might consider not having insulin available if it means no more films like this. It’s objectively awful, I can’t believe this franchise is still going, please let it die so we never have to speak of this again.