Catwoman is the result of four actors without a leg to stand on, three lonely writers with an unhealthy obsession over leather and cats, and one director with a problematic penchant for photogrammetry.
Halle Berry is Patience Phillips, frumpy artist and graphic designer on the campaign for a revolutionary new anti-aging agent. On her first big design for the evil makeup company, the CEO (Lambert Wilson) says he doesn't like a shade of red and so he gives her a midnight deadline with a new design. Because nobody in the office has ever heard of e-mail or FedEx, Patience has to track down the head of the company in a dark chemical plant on the East River, where she just happens to find out that the miracle cure for aging is physically addictive, gives headaches, makes skin as strong as stone, and transforms your face into a prototype for the next version of Cher if you ever happen to quit taking it. Of course Patience panics, gets found out, and ends up drowned in the East River, only to be given mouth-to-mouth by a 4,000-year-old possessed cat.
Sadly, that's really the plot, and it actually gets worse from there.
Catwoman is one of those movies that's so utterly bad you can have fun chuckling about it for days on end. It's a disturbed mix and match of every superhero movie from the last four years (with a smaller budget). Catwoman has the cheesy camera tricks of Hulk and a shabby CG version of the building hopping of Spider-Man. It has the fetish gear of a Bettie Page photo shoot. It has acting that makes Showgirls look like naked Shakespeare. It's about as phony as a Presidential photo op.
I could do this all day.
The writers behind this movie all need girlfriends. Badly. They also need to talk to a feminist for a few hours. They play the pop-empowerment angle by trying to play off Patience/Catwoman as a virgin/whore dichotomy. They wax philosophical with the token upbeat fat girl (Alex Borstein) talking about being yourself and having beauty from within, but Berry only becomes sexy after she switches hair, clothes, and makeup. They try to play the "aging is ok" card with Sharon Stone's appearance as a spurned model, but then turn and play her as a spinster and corporate goon.
The most amazing part of Catwoman is how absolutely fake it feels. Every four seconds there's a camera trick, every 20 seconds there's a cat joke, and about every minute or so is a scene stolen from a better movie. The movie has a momentum of a square wheel. In each and every action scene director Pitof (yes, Pitof) simply stops and cuts away to a romance scene, which just stops and turns into a bad T&A scene, and then turns into a dumb period of pseudo-empowerment.
The only real redeeming quality of Catwoman is the cheap summer camp value. In fact, Catwoman is so bad that I actually recommend you see it. It's the movie you and your friends will rip on all summer long.
On DVD the schadenfreude continues, with an alternate ending and deleted scenes, plus two making-of documentaries. No apolgies are included.
Memo to Halle: Your underpants are on wrong.
Run time: 104 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd July 2004
Box Office USA: $40.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $82.1M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: DC Comics, Warner Bros. Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 9%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 174
IMDB: 3.3 / 10
Starring: Halle Berry as Patience Phillips, Benjamin Bratt as Tom Lone, Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare, Lambert Wilson as George Hedare, Frances Conroy as Ophelia, Alex Borstein as Sally, Michael Massee as Armando, Byron Mann as Wesley, Kim Smith as Drina, Christopher Heyerdahl as Rocker, Peter Wingfield as Dr. Ivan Slavicky, Berend McKenzie as Lance
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