Film: Nine Lives
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken, Robbie Amell, Malina Weissman, Cheryl Hines
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Meow’s the word for this categorically purrfect fantasy featuring the formidable Kevin Spacey as Tom Brand, a hard-boiled real estate billionaire who winds up swapping bodies with a feline after a fall. It is fall from grace in more ways than one and calculatingly engineered from the top of a high-rise by a duplicitous employee with a dubious agenda.
Unbeknownst to all, but the viewer and a certain cat whisperer, the tomcat (more correctly) Tom’s soul/spirit/consciousness inhabiting the cat which he had bought as a birthday present for his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman) struggles to alert distraught second spouse Lara (Jennifer Garner) and the pre-teen of his plight. Some clues later, Rebecca catches on, but is, unsurprisingly, disbelieved by Lara, half-brother David (Robbie Amell, earnest) who slogs to please Dad and his mother Madison (Cheryl Hines playing the ex wife whom Tom calls Satan)
Enter the pet-store owner cum cat whisperer Felix (Walken) Perkins to the…rescue? Well, not quite. As Felix tells Tom (or the cat known as Mr. Fuzzypants, he has seven days to reconcile with his sorely neglected family or live out the rest of his life as a cat while his human body lies in a comatose state. That Felix is a mystery man of strange talents becomes apparent as the narrative unfolds. And move along the story does at a pithy pace in the course of which the furry protagonist foils the murderous antagonist. With some help from the family but natch.
Machismo types might prefer body-swaps with such animals as say a Rottweiler or Bulldog but your reviewer thoroughly enjoyed this caper for which the willing suspension of disbelief is, naturally, required as Tom imbibes some salutary lessons about life on how to be a better husband/father/boss.
Helmed by Barry “Men in Black” Sonnenfield, “Nine Lives” is embellished by the wonderful star cast which has shown off its acting chops in a multiplicity of roles (eg. Garner in J Abrams’s action TV series Alias, Spacey in Netflix’s political drama House of Cards) and are modest/professional enough to take a backseat in comical scenes in which scene stealing Tom/Fuzzypants pees in his ex-wife’s designer handbag and gets high on whiskey. Hic.Meowww.