Tom and Jerry Return to the theaters and HBO Max in a hipster live-action movie aimed exclusively at younger kids. The classic Hanna Barbera cat and mouse cartoon is still the best enemy. But get a modern update that dwarfs my old school sensibilities. I knew things would be different if an animated pigeon started rapping on the opening scene. The movie isn’t a musical, but there are a couple of auto-tuned songs that completely turned me off. That said Tom Jerry are still up to the usual bag of tricks. Tom chases Jerry, gets beaten up in a variety of creative ways, and Jerry escapes the laugh. Children are entertained by the hijinks. Adults and fans of the shorts will find the updated plot missing.
Tom Jerry opens in New York City with the two living beings on different missions. Jerry is looking for a new place to live. He is not impressed with the accommodations of his real estate rat (Utkarsh Ambudkar). Tom plays keyboard in Central Park under the guise of being blind. In a fortuitous turn of events, Jerry destroys Tom’s precious piano and the hunt begins.
Chloë Grace Moretz plays Kayla, an unemployed young woman who receives free meals at the prestigious Royal Gate Hotel. She is bluffing herself into a temporary job, but is immediately suspected by Terrance, the tight event manager (Michael Peña). The hotel hosts the celebrity event of the year. Superstars Ben (Colin Jost) and his fiancé Preeta (Pallavi Sharda) celebrate a lavish Indian wedding at the Royal Gate. He’s got a bloating bulldog, Spike (Bobby Cannavale); while owning a pampered cat, Toots. The hotel breaks out in chaos when Jerry likes the posh surroundings. Kayla’s job is to remove the annoying rodent. She is recruiting the perfect cat for the job.
First, let me admit that it is difficult to adapt a 1940s cartoon for a 21st century audience. Children are more demanding today. Fortunately, the animals remain animated characters and not just CGI. The basic interaction between Tom, Jerry and Spike remains the same. Director Tim Story (Barber shop, wave) and screenwriter Kevin Costello (Brigsby Bear) go overboard with a plot powered by social media celeb fluff. The wedding at the center of the story is designed after the famous couple Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra. There are also scenes where Chloë Grace Moretz and her bartender love interest (Jordan Bolger) flirt over the latest style of Air Jordan sneakers. I lose these points of action, but they can resonate with a younger population group. Regardless, they just aren’t fun and act like fillers more than anything.
Jerry is a big idiot for most of the movie. That surprised me. He cruelly destroys Tom’s keyboard and then beats him to a pulp in any situation. The cartoon never showed Jerry as mean. He was the brunt of Tom’s wrath for a reason. Tom was sent by the racist “Mammy” character to post Jerry. Who always heard “Thomas!” Scream but never seen The filmmakers obviously couldn’t use that setup here. Making Jerry unlikely is just an odd deviation. I never thought I’d get Tom to catch him.
Tom JerryThe human elements are frankly negligible. The cast is a talented actor, but not humorous or entertaining. Tom Jerry‘s Shenanigans with Spike and Toots are the animated highlights. They cause rampant destruction that provoked a slight giggle along the way. Children will be amused by these scenes, but I don’t think the one hour and forty minute runtime will pique their interest. This version of Tom Jerry may attract new audiences, but is unlikely to appeal to older and die-hard fans. Tom Jerry is produced by Warner Animation Group, Hanna-Barbera Productions, and Turner Entertainment. It will be released simultaneously by Warner Bros. in theaters and HBO Max Streaming on February 26th.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of News Gob.