Film Scouts Reviews

"That Darn Cat"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Remaking "That Darn Cat" is a sure thing, a no brainer. Kids loved it back in 1965. And with the success of Disney's "101 Dalmatians", it seems certain that the trend will continue. While I deplore the lack of originality, I am impressed with the updating of "Darn Cat." Christina Ricci who brought life to "Casper" brings back some of her black costuming from "The Addams Family," and is the typical angry teen. Good casting choice. Doug E. Doug has worked at Disney before in "Operation Dumbo Drop" and "Cool Runnings" so he fits in well as the bumbling FBI agent that helps Ricci in her attempts to solve a kidnapping case. But the ultimate Disney alumni has to be Dean Jones. "The Love Bug," "The Ugly Dachshund," "The Shaggy DA" and "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo" made his Disney career and kept Disney afloat during the dreadful sixties and seventies. He is back as a millionaire married to the self-centered Dyan Cannon in this production. They add to the quirkiness of this update and that quality is what makes this a fun movie for the entire family.

Kids will love the cat's antics, just like they did in '65. But adults will have more fun with this version due to the screenwriters. I kept thinking that there were these strange little vignettes all over the place: Estelle Parsons making crank calls, John Ratzenberger involved in a gas station rivalry and Megan Cavanagh dancing in a butcher shop. Well, the guys who wrote this also wrote "People vs. Larry Flynt," "Ed Wood," and "Problem Child." Yeah, I'd say Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have a strange sense of humor. But the strangest thing about their involvement in this project is that they barely have two lines in the press notes. Michael McKean who plays the nice but dense Dad gets a full page! Did they just not want the space to brag about their previous work or did they tick off Disney? Maybe Darn Cat can figure that one out. In the meantime, take the kids, or borrow the neighbor's kids and take them to see "That Darn Cat."

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