‘Tom & Jerry’ Is A Fast And Fur(ry)ious Adaptation That Does Justice To The Iconic Animated Duo – Review
“Live-action remake” is a term that can send the worst of chills down your spine, especially when it’s applied to beloved animated properties. With these types of projects, filmmakers and studios have a big responsibility to respect the original intellectual property while engaging a new generation. It’s a tough tightrope to walk and, admittedly, not one that many manage to cross. I’m happy to report my thorough enjoyment of Warner Bros. and Tim Story’s latest addition to this sub-genre, Tom & Jerry. It’s a movie that had me smiling from ear-to-ear on a day when I needed it, and I hope it’ll do the same for anyone who gets around to watching it.
In this latest entry, Tom and Jerry bring their antics to New York, crossing paths with Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), threatening her fragile career opportunity at an upscale hotel hosting a high-class event. With a killer ensemble cast rounded out by Michael Peña, Rob Delaney, and Pallavi Sharda, the titular frenemies push every conflict to its limits, ensuring a wild ride for the cast and audience alike. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, and I’ll delve into its flaws in a moment, but there is a whole lot to enjoy with this film, which starts with the characters.
The creative team was able to capture a lot of what made these characters’ stories so enjoyable. I don’t just mean the slapstick cat and mouse chase (though those set pieces are very well-done); I’m talking about the heart of the characters themselves. I love watching Tom’s elaborate attempts to catch Jerry, but it’s the moments between where they kind of have to work together or show a little respect for one another that give this movie the brimming heart it needs. More than that, the balance between Tom and Jerry’s story and the humans is almost perfect. Most of these adaptations fall flat when they focus more on live-action counterparts than the IP’s cartoon leads. Tom & Jerry does a great job at making this a TOM AND JERRY movie. They’re at the forefront, and their craziness contributes to the film’s overall plot and theme. It makes sense why they’re there and what they’re doing. Well, for the most part.
My biggest issue with this film is its final act. That’s the only time I felt like the iconic cat and mouse were sidelined for the feud between Moretz and Peña’s characters. It’s pretty standard stuff in terms of an ending for a children’s movie, but it felt lazy and rushed in a story where the first two acts are nicely paced and balanced. It was disappointing to see the story detract from the titular leads, especially when the resolution is less than satisfactory. It ties up the story decently and still has time for a smidge of what made the first two acts so special.
That said, I can’t help but see this movie in a positive light. Tom & Jerry maintains the spirit of its franchise in this absolutely bonkers film about staying true to yourself and bringing people together (even if they want to drop an anvil on the others’ head). That theme of “coming together for the greater good” is common throughout most of Tim Story’s films, and I think it shines beautifully here. Whether on HBO Max or elsewhere, this cat and mouse chase is definitely worth your time.