Catwoman

"Good"

Catwoman Review


One of the hassles of a four-star rating system for movie reviews is that at first glance it can appear to put an enjoyably bad movie on equal footing with a really good one -- case in point, this week's two big studio releases.

Inventive, original and packed with uncommonly intelligent action, "The Bourne Supremacy" is an example of a great three-star movie -- one that I toyed with giving another half-star, but while it's on the "great" end of "good," it didn't quite cross the threshold into "extraordinary." (I hope that makes some kind of sense.)

But "Catwoman" is a whole different kind of three-star movie -- one so blundering, so badly written, so ripped to shreds by the actors chewing the scenery, so pretentiously self-serious, and yet seemingly aware of its own off-the-charts camp value -- that it is wildly entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons.

Halle Berry prowls, hisses, struts and scratches her way through this lavishly over-produced riff on Batman's kinkiest nemesis, in which the title character is not a Gotham villainess but just one of a string of women throughout history given special feline powers by cats descended from ancient Egyptian animal gods.

A mousy gal in badly mismatched outfits, Patience Philips (Berry) is a graphic designer for a cosmetics conglomerate that is about to launch a miracle anti-aging beauty cream with horrible hidden side-effects -- a fact she inadvertently discovers, leading to her untimely death at the hands of company henchmen, and her resurrection at the paws of an Egyptian puss with magical halitosis (or at least misty green breath).

Patience uses her newfound abilities to become a hip-swinging vamp in shredded leather and a cat mask, seeking vengeance and finding her feline half has side-effects of its own, not the least of which are an addictive vulnerability to catnip, a distracting weak spot for shiny objects (mesmerized by a necklace, she breaks into a high-end jewelry boutique) and a tendency to lick people, like Benjamin Bratt as a handsome Mr. Wonderful -- a charming cop seeking to capture Catwoman, but who still has the time to help inner-city children.

Meanwhile, the cosmetics company's nefarious husband-and-wife CEOs (greasy Frenchman Lambert Wilson and a deliciously over-the-top, platinum-butch Sharon Stone), plot to unleash their product on an unsuspecting world in which FDA approval is something easily dismissed with a few lines of absurd exposition.

Although occasionally funny on purpose, "Catwoman" has so many hallmarks of unintentional high camp that they become impossible to ignore: dialogue so ungainly that its talented actors come off looking like a Roger Corman troupe, a laughable lack of chemistry between the romantic leads, low-rent CGI super-power F/X, telegraphed comic-relief stereotypes (including a distastefully screaming-queen, "you go girl!" homosexual) and a director who takes himself so seriously that he goes by only one name -- Pitof.

But for Z-movie cachet, you can't beat "Catwoman's" preposterous catfight climax, in which Berry trades cartwheel kicks and laughably bad barbs ("Game over!" begets "Guess what? It's overtime!") with Stone, who may have finally found her career-comeback calling card as a larger-than-life queen bitch. It's just a pity this Pitof fellow (previously a French second-unit man for Luc Besson and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) lets the fight scene's incongruous R&B soundtrack run roughshod over his big silly finish, turning the movie into a bad music video for the third or fourth time.

Topping off the unintentional humor is the fact that "Catwoman," in which the stunningly gorgeous (and allegedly surgeon-sculpted) Berry slinks around half-naked most of the time, genuinely tries to say something about our culture's over-valuing of youth and beauty.

So although it confounds me to give any movie three stars specifically for being awful, my rule for this rating is a "solid recommend," and the fact is, there's a great time to be had at "Catwoman" -- just bring lots of popcorn to throw at the screen.



Catwoman

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd July 2004

Box Office USA: $40.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $82.1M

Budget: $100M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: DC Comics, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 174

IMDB: 3.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pitof

Starring: as Patience Phillips, as Tom Lone, as Laurel Hedare, as George Hedare, as Ophelia, as Sally, as Armando, as Wesley, as Drina, as Rocker, as Dr. Ivan Slavicky, Berend McKenzie as Lance

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.