After a promising opening credits sequence – with the full James Bond treatment – the Cats & Dogs sequel proves as charming and funny as a tray of cat litter, and surely requires urgent euthanasia. Nine years on from the original, which was so full of quirky charm and fun, the new writers and new director fill the screen full of colour and noise, but the result is so lame, unimaginative and poorly put-together that it’s barely watchable. 3D can’t save the dogs breakfast.
As with the original, the cats and dogs of the world are in a secret war, using spy technologies in an attempt to outwit each other, while humans go about their lives unaware of the kennel versus cushion cold war. Writers Ron Friedman and Steve Bencich build the new story around a maligned feline named Kitty Galore (voice of Bette Midler) who has been filching the technology necessary to turn dogs against their humans when an evil “Call of the Wild” sound is emitted from the world’s satellites. Trying to stop her are Diggs (voice of James Marsden), an ex-police dog who’s been neglected all his life (that’s called personality), and Butch (voice of Nick Nolte), an old hand at doggy-style counter-espionage. The canine-buddy team are then joined by a talkative and brainless pigeon (voice of Katt Williams), and a cat called Catherine (voice of Christina Applegate). Yes, you read it right – a cat! In a surprising and fatally flawed twist, this time it’s cats and dogs working together to try and stop the maverick moggy Kitty Galore.
Despite the big names involved (even Roger Moore can be heard briefly reading a few lines of the script), the woefully unimaginative storyline and lame jokes make this a turgid experience. Scenes are packed with expositional dialogue, leaving the four-legged performers little to do but move their furry CGI mouths, and the human actors on show do little more than stand and deliver. Only Seamus the pigeon manages to get close to providing some fizz. Sorry fans of the first film – this is really paw.