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Movie Review

Cats & Dogs also known as “Como perros y gatos,” “Como Cães E Gatos,” “Som hund och katt,” “Als kat en hond,” “Cats & Dogs - Wie Hund und Katz,” “Chats et chiens,” “Come cani & gatti,” “Comme chiens et chats,” “Hund og kat imellem,” “Jako kocky a psi,” “Kediler ve köpekler,” “Kuin kissat ja koirat,” “Kutyák és macskák,” “San to skylo me ti gata,” “Som hund og katt”

MPAA Rating: PG for animal action and humor

Reviewed by: Lewis A. McNeely

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
6 to Adult
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 4, 2001
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Jeff Goldblum and Elizabeth Perkins in “Cats and Dogs”
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Spies in the Bible

Dogs in the Bible

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Jeff Goldblum (Professor Brody), Elizabeth Perkins (Mrs. Brody), Alexander Pollock (Scotty Brody), Miriam Margolyes (Sophie the Castle Maid), Myron Natwick (Mr. Mason), Doris Chillcott (Mrs. Calvert), Kirsten Robek (Pie Mom), Frank C. Turner (The Farmer), Mar Andersons (Guard at Factory Gate), Gillian Barber (Factory Receptionist), Carol Ann Susi (Sophie’s Sister), Randi Kaplan (Sophie’s Sister), Mary Bogue (Sophie’s Sister), Alvin Sanders (Mason Employee), Mark Schooley (Mason Employee), Lou Bollo (Worker), Scott Nicholson (Worker), Trish Schill (Worker), Babe Dolan (Wife passenger), Reg Glass (Truck driver), Charles Andre (Truck driver), Peggy Logan (Nurse), Alicia Michelle (Jogger on Sidewalk), Pamela Perry (Yorkie Dog Owner), Tobey Maguire (Lou the Beagle—voice), Alec Baldwin (Butch—voice), Sean Hayes (Mr. Tinkles—voice), Susan Sarandon (Ivy—voice), Joe Pantoliano (Peek—voice), Michael Clarke Duncan (Sam—voice), more »
Director: Larry Guterman
Producer: Andrew Lazar, Chris de Faria, Craig Perry, Warren Zide
Distributor: Warner Brothers

Sequel to this movie:Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” (2010—review)

“Things are gonna get hairy!”

A great movie for all ages and a chance to root for your favorite domestic friend, “Cats and Dogs” scores high on the fun meter! No profanity, no sexual references, just good clean family fun.

After “Babe the pig” and other “talking animal” movies it’s no longer enough to have real animals with animated mouths filling the big screen to entertain and captivate moviegoers. Thankfully the writers of “Cats and Dogs” give us more to make the visit worthwhile.

The plot centers around a family whose father (Jeff Goldbloom) is attempting to create a cure for dog-related allergies, which will enable everyone to enjoy the presence of “man’s best friend.” Of course the cat world will do anything to stop this from happening and thus begins the premise of “Cats and Dogs”. The dog world’s best and greatest hope in this epic battle for domination is a cute beagle named Lou (voice of Toby Maguire). His cuteness alone should spark a high demand for beagles as pets just as “101 Dalmatians” caused the same reaction for it protagonists.

The Russian Blue in “Cats and Dogs”Complete with great fight scenes and “James Bond” style action, “Cats and Dogs” captures the essence of spy thrillers with a tongue-in-cheek feel that worked much better than it did in the earlier released “Spy Kids”. Of course, like many children’s movies these days, the story was predictable and formulaic. But the humor and likability of most of the characters keep you entertained and wishing for more movie time. No doubt this feature will deservedly have a sequel.

The summer of 2001 has mostly been a disaster in the family/Christian arena, making this summer’s movie lineup one of the least kid friendly in recent years. It is refreshing to have a well-made family movie that will also make a great video purchase for the Christmas season (if it is released in time).

There is a reference that cats once ruled the world. Only very small children may not understand the apocryphal nature of that segment and could require parental guidance on the subject. Overall, the movie is a definite winner.

My final take: “That’ll do, little beagle, that’ll do”.

Viewer Comments
“Cats and Dogs” is a film you’ll either love or hate. I enjoyed seeing it once, but probably won’t ever watch it again… although I know a few people, my brother included, who will probably see it a hundred times. it’s a wild, crazy ride made up of the slapstick comedy that made Home Alone such a hit. However, seeing animals go at each other so maliciously is almost unsettling, like you’ve purposely set up a cockfight. It might also give kids the wrong idea of how to treat their pets, with cats flying through the air, dogs narrowly escaping being impaled by sharp objects, and claw and teeth combat. It does have a few witty moments, and some of the dialogue is unforgettable. The gadgets, from the “Kitty Tracker 2000” to the underground world of canine conspiracy, steal the show. Unfortunately, extreme violence aside, it does have a few hairballs. There’s some crudeness, mostly played between the dogs, several inappropriate uses of “God,” and some mild innuendo that may or may not go over kids’ heads. I’m not comfortable with the slapstick violence in general, because it does give the wrong idea to impressionable children. But the premise of the film itself is very clever. As it stands now, Cats and Dogs is a witty comedy aimed for kids. Tedious and practical for adults, it probably won’t please the older crowd. And then there’s the abominable Mr. Tinkles and his henchmen. A cat lover myself, I felt the film was rather one sided… in favor of the dogs.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Charity Bishop, age 18
One Word… BORING! My first words walking out of the theatre were “Well, there’s 1 ½ hours of my life I’ll never get back again”. My 11 year old son barely giggled, I yawned and my husband (who was the one who wanted to go see the movie in the first place) apologized. I suppose if I were a dog lover instead of a cat lover I would have enjoyed this movie more, but I just found it boring and predictable, and very UNentertaining. it’s too bad, too, because we certainly need more family style movies, but this one just didn’t fit the bill for us.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2½]
—Dori, age 43
I will never forget watching one of the final programs that aired with both Siskel and Ebert. It was their annual “At the Movies” review of the top 10 movies for the year. The late Gene Siskel picked Babe, Pig in the City as his top movie of the year. I loved that moment! It should be celebrated when there is a film that truly is a “family” film. They are becoming an endangered species. Cats and Dogs is one of the better “family” films this year. My warning for Cats and Dogs is be prepared for B-movie “silliness”. …We must remember that the “research” is the main character in this film. The involvement of the Brody family takes on a supporting role. The Professor and his wife Carolyn (Elizabeth Perkins) are almost expanded “cameos” to move the story along. Scott (Alexander Pollock), their son has lost his dog and the “Dogs” defender of the formula. There is very little “true” family interaction. You see the typical “Hollywood” dad that is so busy he misses important events in his sons life. We also see a mom that is very focused on her career and takes on the role of “caretaker” rather than “caregiver”. Do not expect a whole lot from this very thin area of the plot. Keep your eye on the “cats and dogs.” …We do see a cat blown up and an elderly person on life support. The cats use this aging corporate owner like the boss in the comedy Weekend at Bernies. Some younger children may not like the idea of family pets fighting. Director, Lawrence Guterman, and his team of “high-tech” professionals do a splendid job of convincing us that animals can talk. The film does provide a decent afternoon escape to the matinee with the kids. There is no language, which is always a positive. It does have some flirting among the dogs with a character named Ivy (Susan Sarandon). The majority of the film reflects the simple “silliness” that we used to enjoy from early Disney movies. The film may miss the teen audience, but my 15 year old son enjoyed it a lot. It is not hard to see how Cats and Dogs finished it’s first weekend in the #1 position. This is another opportunity for families to send the studios a message. We like it when they raise the “bar” of decency for our children. I have already seen the film twice. Enjoy!
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 4]
—Douglas Downs, age 45
If you are looking for a family movie, “Cats and Dogs” is probably the best currently in theaters, at least where we live. Unfortunately, an otherwise good movie was diminished in quality by taking God’s name in vain, mainly near the beginning of the film. My children, 15 and 10, and their friends, 14 and 11, all said they enjoyed the film; some thought it was hilarious. None of them noticed the misuse of God’s name. Near the beginning of the movie it was frequent enough that I was seriously considering walking out and asking for a refund. When it stopped, I decided to remain. The story line of dogs organizing to thwart a conspiracy of cats to rule the world was imaginative. I was impressed by the spots where the cats and dogs were trained to act like people. The children seemed impressed by the flashy special effects where the cats and dogs were performing actions clearly impossible for animals. One recurring theme I found amusing was that the cats and dogs, engaged in humanlike activities, suddenly returned to feline and canine behavior when a human appeared. In sum, the children found “Cats and Dogs” enjoyable throughout. I found it tolerable and at times entertaining.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Harlan K. Brown, age 51
After reading the opening review at this Web site, I took my 8 yr old daughter to see this today. I’m not trying to be a party-pooper, but there were some objectionable things that need to be noted. Several times in the movie the terms, “Oh my god!” or “Oh god” were used. These are not phrases that we find acceptable in our Christian home and are objectionable. My daughter looked at me weirdly when they would say it because I had told her that this site said, “nothing objectionable” in the film. We had to have a talk after the movie. Also, I think that dogs sniffing each others rear ends, and passing gas are not family material—it’s gross, not funny. Overall, this film is fine, but not completely objectionable. Just be prepared to explain a couple of things to your children.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Tammie, age 36
…The story has too much animal dialog, but the action animal scenes are well done. There was only a smattering of laughter around the theatre at certain points where viewers found the animal slapstick fight-scenes comical. Jeff Goldblum’s subdued Nutty Professor/Erwin Corey wasn’t that comical and I just never felt a real connection between him and the attractive Elizabeth Perkins from “Big”. The child actor who played their son was very forgettable and never made me believe he was very upset at losing his previous dog, who was “cat-napped”… a film for children that is not objectionable, and with the limited number of good films for young children, I should applaud this one. My 6 ½ year old son, Nick, said he liked it… can someone turn down the sound in these theatres? When my son has to put his hands over his ears to protect his hearing, enough is enough. At my next movie I am going to take a sound pressure reading and record the highest sound levels and report back what I find. As a broadcast engineer I am sure I will find sound pressure readings of 100db or more. This is totally unnecessary and dangerous to young ears. There is no Bible content in this movie and nothing really to offend. It is just slapstick animal comedy at its most average.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Jim Tavegia, age 53
Funny and clever at times, this movie is a nice mindless way to spend 90 minutes. There are intense scenes in it; I wouldn’t bring younger children to watch it. it’s probably best to wait for the video.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—James, age 31
I really liked this movie! it’s funny and hilarious, nothing big. it’s a great family movie or a movie to go see alone. I saw this movie today and I think it’s really great. In comparison, I think that “Cats and Dogs” is a heck of a lot better than “Dr. Doolittle 2.” don’t miss this movie! Animal lovers will LOVE this movie!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Shannon, age 20
I took my kids to see this on opening day. I must say I thought it was fabulous. I rate it right up there with Spy Kids. I have seen reviews that say that only little children would like this, I disagree. There were many adults in the audience and the laughter was steady. I found this movie to be a great family movie and found absolutely NOTHING objectionable in the movie. My sons are 6 and 7 and loved it. The special effects are incredible where the animatronics come in, the jokes are great and there is a very good underlying message of the importance pets can play in the family. I highly recommend this movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Dave, age 31
Awesome movie for the kids. Parents will enjoy it also. No bad language was snuck in. The closest thing to bad language was a comment by a dog. He says, “son of my mother,” instead of son of you know what. There is mild violence with cats and dogs having humorous battles. Nothing will scare the little ones here. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I believe you will also. The actors/actresses Jeff Goldblum, Liz Perkins, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, etc., were all excellent. Go see this one. When Hollywood makes good, clean, family style movies like this one, we should support them to let them know we want more of the same.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 4]
—Brian Wainwright, age 32
My wife and I took our 7, 5, and 3 year old to see today. It was too loud and a little too scary for the 3 year old, but mom and I and the others really enjoyed it. We were glad for the relatively small number of “objectionables” in the movie, and it was a lot of fun. The adult-targeted humor was subtle and quite funny, the cliches were fun—we didn’t find them distracting at all. I thought it was just hilarious having the super villain in the movie be named “Mr. Tinkles” and have his greatest nemesis in the movie be the housemaid who continually embarrasses him! It was a good laugh-out-loud, fun time with the kids. If you’re not bringing kids, it may not be as enjoyable, but we highly recommend it as the best family-friendly film since Spy Kids.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Glenn Rumfellow, age 32
This movie is for the birds. Children may find the cartoonish slapstick action to be funny, but as for adults, don’t expect to use your brain much except to try to figure out what in the world is going on in some places. Apparently, there is a cat who wants to take over the world by making all humans allergic to dogs. This would be accomplished by somehow “reversing” the formula for a vaccine that cures dog allergies. The dogs try to prevent this by playing the roles of detectives and spys. I give the dogs credit for at least being trainable enough to play their own parts. The cats had to be replaced by robotic cats for any scene requiring cooperation, such as opening their mouths to “speak,” or moving in a predictable direction. In this post Jurassic Park day and age, you’d think they could’ve at least come up with more realistic looking robotic cats. Save your money and let the kids watch it for free on TV.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2½]
—Edith, age 40
I took the whole family to see Cats and Dogs this weekend. It was an enjoyable film, with very little if anything to object to, unless you object to the kind of cartoon violence present in old Looney Toons and the like. As far as story, and moviemaking quality, it left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. If you liked Spy Kids, and Inspector Gadget, you will probably like this one too. However, if you thought those films seemed disjointed and poorly edited, as I did, you will see the same style here.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Timothy Blaisdell, age 37
Comments from young people
I thought this movie was stupid and completely idiotic. but what should I expect from a movie where dogs are secret agents and cats are the enemy? But other from its completely idiotic plotline it was a pretty good kid movie. I don’t recall any offensive language other than a couple “oh my God’s” in there but all in all was an alright movie for you to see with your kids.
My Ratings: [Good / 2]
—Caleb, age 16
Movie Critics
…suffers from predictable plot points, tired cliches, no character development, and over-the-top acting. Its violence and toilet humor is unacceptable for children ages 3 to 12…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…can be a fun outing for ages 6 and up…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…not likely to captivate many beyond the youngest family members or the most ardent animal lovers…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…Purely for the preteen set, this tail-wagging spy movie is hokey but fun…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
…1 use of “crap,” 2 uses of “Oh my God” and 1 use each of “My God,” “For God’s sakes” and “God” as exclamations…