Reviewed by: Dale and Karen Mason
Starring: Christina Ricci, Doug E. Doug, George Dzundza, Peter Boyle, Michael McKean, Bess Armstrong / Director: Bob Spiers / Distributor: Disney/Buena Vista
This zany update of the 1960’s Disney hit might more appropriately be entitled “That Darn KID.” It centers on the frustrations and actions of 16-year-old Patti (Christina Ricci)—a teen with a 'tude.
After establishing for the audience the fact that Patti sincerely dislikes her town, and most of its inhabitants, her pet cat returns home one evening with a “clue” which Patti decides is a key to solving a high-profile kidnapping case. Patti is a determined 16-year-old and finds a way to convince FBI agent “Zeke” Kelso to check out her lead. We watch as the awkward/inexperienced young agent (Doug E. Doug) and Patti follow the cat’s nightly route through the neighborhood. To the cat, it’s just another evening stroll. For Patti, it’s a fun adventure. For Zeke, it’s time to prove himself to his boss and his mocking associates.
“That Darn Cat” is a clever title designed to attract kids and families, but the cat itself is not nearly as important to the appeal of this film as the attitudinally challenged Patti and the fumbling/comical agent Zeke.
If you’re a parent striving to instill the character trait of respect in your child(ren), you probably won’t like Patti upon first meeting. But, on the positive side, her disillusionment toward her town and negative attitudes toward her parents and others dissolve substantially by the movie’s end. This production also includes a funny, recurring competition between the town’s two mechanics, and other entertaining aspects.
If you decide to view this one with the kids, at least explain to them ahead of time that the film’s young star does and says some things early in the film that are just plain wrong and not to be emulated in your home. “That Darn Cat” is “ok”, but not the kind of truly “family friendly” film that this reviewer gets really excited about.
There’s no nudity but three uses of God’s name in vain, a couple other expletives, and slapstick-style violence.
Year of Release—1997