Hard to believe, but there is a worse movie prowling the multiplex these days than Suicide Squad — though it’s nowhere near as disappointing. Expectations are certainly low for Nine Lives, a crass attempt to turn the national jones for cat videos into box-office gold. But at 87 torturous, laugh-free minutes, the film could change the most avid cat fancier into a kitty hater.
Kevin Spacey, of all the two-time Oscar winners brought low by a cash grab, stars as Donald Trump. Not really. But Spacey’s Tom Brand, a billionaire builder of skyscrapers, resembles the Donald in everything except presidential aspirations. Though Brand’s work habits — he treats his employees like shit — result in him neglecting his second wife Lara (Jennifer Garner, stranded in a nothing role), he really wants to give his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman) the best gift ever for her 11th birthday. She loves cats; he hates them. Ready to make the supreme sacrifice, Brand visits a creepy pet story run by Felix Perkins (an even creepier Christopher Walken) and before you can say Gremlins purchases a tomcat named Mister Fuzzypants. Then, boom, an accident puts Brand in a coma and — get ready —traps him inside the body of Mister Fuzzypants.
This allows director Barry Sonnenfeld, far from the glory of days of Get Shorty and Men in Black, to parcel out life lessons with such witless regularity and relentless obviousness that you might want to deafen your eardrums and claw your eyes out. Family audiences should not be fooled. Nine Lives goes out with the kitty litter.