By Christian DiMartino
The original Tom & Jerry cartoons are decently funny, and they get in, deliver their jokes, and get out in a matter of minutes. Kind of like the Road Runner sketches, they’re funny, and yet I couldn’t picture them getting a full length movie because, well, how do you take a simple concept and stretch it to feature length without losing the zany spirit of the original cartoon? Well, you don’t. Scooby Doo is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that could work (it hasn’t really yet, but maybe give it time) at feature length as long as the mystery is interesting enough. Tom & Jerry seems less likely.
So that brings us to the new Tom & Jerry movie, which not only appears to have arrived 70 years late, but also feels like something out of 2005. Truth is, there’s not that much Tom and Jerry action in Tom & Jerry. The original cartoons found Tom, the cat, frequently trying to capture and kill Jerry, the mouse. Jerry always got away with it though by outwitting Tom. They can’t make a whole movie out of that though, so why bother making one? Money, that’s why. Tom & Jerry isn’t very funny, and it isn’t fun. In trying to make a movie out of the material, Tom and Jerry don’t really get a chance to do their thing very often, and truth be told, for a concept that was probably already pretty thin from a feature length standpoint, watching the movie, things feel even skinnier.
The film is set in New York City, and to one of the most obnoxious hip-hop soundtracks you’ll hear for some time- seriously, there isn’t one enjoyable song here. Tom roams the city and desperately wants to live in this big, swanky hotel. Jerry is living in the hotel, and living it up. The rules of the film confused me. Every animal here is animated, and yet when Tom is seen playing the keyboard, the people in Central Park gather around as if they’re watching a person perform. At times, it feels as if Tom and Jerry are treated like people, and yet other pets are treated like pets. Clearly, I’m putting too much work in.
Anyways, Chloe Grace Moretz is Kayla, and she manipulates her way into taking a temporary position at this hotel. Said hotel is ran by Michael Pena, usually a wonderful actor but somewhat over the top here. Said hotel will also be hosting the luxurious wedding of Ben and Preeta (Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda). But, there is a mouse causing a ruckus in the rooms! So upon infiltrating his way into the hotel, Tom is hired by Kayla to get Jerry out of there.
That’s all, folks. Yet late in the game they try acting as if we should care about Ben and Preeta. Why are Ben and Preeta of interest? They’re not, but they sure do act like they are. Truth is, the brief moments in Tom & Jerry that echo the original cartoon are funny, but there aren’t enough of them. Instead, a lot of focus is geared towards the humans, who don’t really get to do anything funny. Yet we do get some action from Ben and Preeta’s pets, along with a pair of elephants at the wedding, who use terms like, “LOL” and “WTF.” Get it? The movie is very hip, you see. If you couldn’t tell from that soundtrack.
It also feels really long at a little over 100 minutes. The animation is so-so as well- sometimes it looks fine, at others it looks strange. Here is a film that would’ve worked way better if they had just stuck to their animated roots. Why place these characters in a real setting? Tom & Jerry isn’t as awful as it is dull, but don’t worry, it’s at times pretty awful too. Here is a film product well past its expiration date. Perhaps a good film could’ve been made from this material, but like last year’s dreadful Scoob, it appears as if the filmmakers were more concerned with selling the film than making it.