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Movie Review

That Darn Cat

Reviewed by: Dale and Karen Mason

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
12 to Adult
89 min.

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

Viewer Comments
My daughter and I went to go see this movie because of how much we loved the classic butI found this movie completely against Christian values. The girl Patti repeatedly tries to get her mother to cuss and when her mother asks her why she wears black, she flippantly answers, “because it matches my soul” If that is not against Christianity, I don’t know what is. Save yourself the money on renting this movie, rent the Disney classic instead.
—Vanesa, age 35
Many parents may be interested to know that one of the main themes running throughout the film is the daughter’s continual attempt to get her “prude” mother to use bad language…
—Ken Craig, age 44
I would like to see listed at the very beginning of the overviews the producer of the film. (Editor’s note: The name of the Producer and/or Distributor is already listed, just prior to the review itself.) Right now my family is boycotting “Disney” for many Christian reasons. I may see a good review on your page about one of their films not knowing it’s made by Disney, and then when I get to the theatre I would find out it’s Disney and have to go all the way home and disappoint the family. There are many, many people and churches currently boycotting Disney so this could be helpful to many of them also.
—Crystal Carlson, age 37
How can you say that this was a good movie? This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Personally, I’d rather clean my room then watch that movie again.
—Julie Kingsborough, age 14
I’ve got [the original movie] on video, and, believe me, it’s much better than anything Hollywood puts out today. Rent it sometime.
—Amy, age 40