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Nine Lives review

We review Nine Lives - a businessman finds himself in a cat's body in this far from than purr-fect comedy

Nine Lives Poster

Nine Lives

Certificate: PG

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken

Release date: 2016

1 out of 5


Cats are hilarious, as anyone who has seen the YouTube videos of felines being freaked out by cucumbers will tell you. So you’d expect a movie about a rich businessman being trapped in the body of a moggy to be funny, right? Wrong. Despite said millionaire Tom Brand being played by Kevin Spacey, and Christopher Walken being his usual wonderful self as mysterious pet store owner/cat whisperer Mr Perkins, there is barely a laugh to be found in this furry family comedy.

Like the numerous body swap-style movies that have gone before, such as Disney’s The Kid and 17 Again, the moral here is all about learning to be a better person. Brand spends so little time with his family that his daughter Rebecca watches his press conferences on repeat as a way of seeing him, and his wife (Garner) has a better relationship with Brand’s sarcastic ex (Cheryl Hines) than her own husband. When she tells Tom he has to step up and remember to get a birthday present for Rebecca, his last-minute attempt leads him to buying a cat from a creepy looking pet store, but a stop on the way home at his new skyscraper ends in disaster with Tom in a coma… and his soul in the body of the cat.

All this takes quite a while – it’s well into the first third of the movie before we even see a kitty – and then it’s time for Tom-the-cat to try and return to being human while also realising his trusted deputy Ian (Mark Consuelos) is actually attempting to take over Tom’s business empire. Kids won’t care about the corporate takeover stuff while adults will puzzle how such a big company could be under threat so easily, and why an astute businessman hasn’t given someone power of attorney, you know, just in case he was turned into a cat or something.

Throughout, the jokes just don’t come no matter how hard the cast try, with only the occasional feline antic raising a smile. Part of the problem is that some of the cat’s more daring exploits – which include jumping off a high building, and, erm, opening a decanter of Scotch and getting drunk on it – look really fake, with the cat CGI looking less realistic than you’d find in a Garfield cartoon.  Give it a miss and stay home watching Grumpy Cat videos on YouTube instead…

Is Nine Lives suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Very little viewers may be upset when they think the cat has died (it hasn’t).

If you like this, why not try: The Secret Life Of Pets, Big, Cats And Dogs, The Shaggy Dog, The Kid,