Cats & Dogs
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|Cats and Dogs|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lawrence Guterman|
|Produced by||Ed Jones
Christopher de Faria
|Written by||John Requa
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Rick W. Finney
Michael A. Stevenson
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Cats & Dogs is a 2001 American-Australian action-comedy film, directed by Lawrence Guterman. The screenplay by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra centers on the relationships between cats and dogs, depicting the relationship as an intense rivalry in which both sides use organizations and tactics that mirror those used in human espionage. It was shot in Victoria and Vancouver, Canada. The film was released on July 4, 2001 by Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Zide/Perry Productions, and Rhythm and Hues Studios.
Mrs. Carolyn Brody (Elizabeth Perkins) and her son Scott (Alexander Pollock) bring in the groceries and the family's Bloodhound Buddy immediately starts giving chase to a cat. His chase involves running through a park, into a neighbor's house, and more. Then he finds the cat lying "dead" on the street, obviously faking. The cat gets up and runs away, and a blue van being driven by cats pulls up and kidnaps Buddy.
An Anatolian Shepherd dog named Butch (voiced by Alec Baldwin) watches from a window, then goes to his doghouse, and tells an agent of Buddy's kidnap. At Intel HQ, the head dog receives the news about Buddy and orders the best agents to accomplish the mission and defeat all felines (cats) from achieving their sinister goals: To make all humans allergic to all canines/dogs.
Meanwhile at a farm, a small group of Beagle puppies converse and make fun of a younger puppy (voiced by Tobey Maguire), who wants to be free. The younger puppy tries an escape, but he fails and he ends up under a bucket. Suddenly, a chainsaw cuts a large hole in the floor and a group of young black Doberman puppies (all of them trained dog agents) led by a large Doberman Pinscher force the Beagles to go underground, not noticing the younger puppy. Mrs Brody approaches, comes into the puppy pen, and the younger puppy comes out from under the bucket. She decides to adopt him and takes him home, naming him Lou after Scott sarcastically suggests the name "Loser".
Scott puts him outside and a dog biscuit attached to a balloon floats down. Lou goes near it, and Butch comes out and throws a stick at it, making it explode. Butch then takes Lou into Buddy's doghouse and shows him the network that dog agents use, then takes him to meet some more agents: Peek (voiced by Joe Pantoliano) is a Chinese Crested Dog who works in an underground tube and has computers, radar, sonar, television, communications, satellite, thermal imaging systems, security cameras, and such; Sam (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) is a comical Old English Sheepdog. Having assumed that Lou is a trained dog agent, upon finding out Lou isn't, Butch protests to Dog Headquarters, but is told that there is no time to send a replacement. Lou is then briefed on the origins of the war between cats and dogs, which apparently dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Butch also mentions that Buddy was previously on the mission until he was captured by the cats, escaped from them, and retired from the spy business.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tinkles (voiced by Sean Hayes), a white Persian cat, plans to conquer the world by making all humans allergic to dogs with Mr. Brody (Jeff Goldblum)'s research on a cure for dog allergies. He is briefly interrupted by Sophie the Maid (Miriam Margoyles) who needs to dress him upon seeing the comatose Mr. Mason (Myron Natwick). Tinkles then tells his sidekick Calico (voiced by Jon Lovitz), an Exotic Shorthair, to send in the ninja cats (voiced by Danny Mann and Billy West) he hired to steal the research. He sends in the Devon Rex ninjas but Lou manages to prevent the theft. Lou then meets a former agent and Butch's ex-sweetheart and girlfriend named Ivy (voiced by Susan Sarandon), a Saluki who belly scratches him. Disappointed that the ninja cats failed him, Mr. Tinkles then orders Calico to send a Russian Blue mercenary, Diemitir Kennelkoff, (voiced by Glenn Ficarra) to steal the research. Kennelkoff frames Lou for defecating in the house with a ball containing fake dog crap, then places a bomb on the lab door. Butch and Lou manage to get into the house through the window, but Peek and Sam are trapped outside after Lou knocks the window prop away. Kennelkoff fires a series of boomerangs around the Brodys' house which break several vases and knock a lamp over; the boomerangs also make the curtain pole break. Lou then distracts the Russian while Butch tries to disable the bomb, but Kennelkoff turns his attention on Butch and tries to kill him. Butch gets caught in a telephone wire, then Mrs Brody comes home looking for her cell phone and surprisingly does not notice her wrecked living room. Butch manages to escape and disables the bomb, but Kennelkoff holds out a remote that will detonate the bomb and laughs until the lab door opens and hits him. Kennelkoff is then captured and interrogated. The agent tells the gang that they pumped a few things out of Kennelkoff's stomach, including a note written by Mr. Tinkles.
After an incident involving Lou playing with Scott, Professor Brody's machine finally gets the positive combinations for the formula. As Mr. Tinkles and Calico overhear the call between Professor Brody and a doctor, they decide to spring a trap for Dr. Brody and his family. First, Mr. Tinkles makes his sinister and talking side known to Sophie, causing her to faint, then he and his cats take Mr Mason's comatose body to Mason's tree flocking plant, where Tinkles passes his voice off as Mr Mason to send the employees home and commandeer the factory for the next plot. The cats send soccer tickets to an exhibition game between Uruguay and Chad to the Brody family, obviously a ruse. The cats make a fake entry and when the Brody family pulls up, the cats throw a gas bomb into their car, which goes off and leaves the family unconscious.
While trying to decipher Mr. Tinkles's location, the dogs are unaware that the Brodys have been led into a trap and are kidnapped by the said cat. After receiving a video from the cat demanding Mr. Brody's research as a ransom, the dogs from around the world assemble at a meeting (not unlike the United Nations General Assembly) run by the Mastiff (voiced by Charlton Heston). When the dog agents are unable to give up the formula after the meeting of the world's dogs, Lou angrily confronts Butch for not helping him. Butch then explains that when his owner went to college, he left him with his grandmother and storms off, cutting off all of Lou's communications with Peek and the others so Lou wouldn't seek help to save his family. Lou gives in and brings Mr. Tinkles the research and is betrayed. Butch manages to find the depressed Lou and, along with Ivy, the two stage an ambush of Mr. Tinkles's factory where the latter plans to use mice to spread the now mass-produced allergy to dogs. While Butch, Ivy, Peek, and Sam fight Tinkles's cat forces, Lou frees the Brodys and Calico (who was betrayed by Tinkles), revealing he can speak in the process. Lou defeats Tinkles and rescues Butch, but the claw of the excavator hits his head and a flocking tank, causing an explosion that destroys the factory. Butch manages to save Lou, but the latter is unresponsive. After a few hurtful moments of sadness and sorrow; in which Scott, feeling genuinely sorry and remorseful for referring to Lou as loser, tearfully apologizes to Lou; Lou suddenly awakens and all rejoice. Lou decides to be a normal canine and not a secret agent yet, but one day he will be when he is a full-grown beagle.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tinkles is sent to live with Sophie and her four sisters, who dress him in hilariously ridiculous girly outfits.
- Jeff Goldblum as Professor Brody
- Elizabeth Perkins as Mrs. Caroline Brody
- Alexander Pollock as Scott Brody
- Miriam Margoyles as Sophie the Maid
- Myron Natwick as Mr. Mason
- Tobey Maguire as Lou (Louis) the Beagle, who lives with the Brody family
- Sean Hayes as Mr. Tinkles, leader of the cat agents who wants to defeat the dogs and rule the world
- Alec Baldwin as Butch, an experienced field agent and Lou's mentor
- Susan Sarandon as Ivy, a "domestically challenged" former dog agent Lou meets when he trains to be an agent, who has a history with Butch
- Charlton Heston as The Mastiff, the leader of the dog agents
- Jon Lovitz as Calico, Mr. Tinkles's second in command
- Joe Pantoliano as Peek, a dog agent
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Sam, a dog agent
- Billy West as Ninja Cat #1
- Danny Mann as Ninja Cat #2
- Glenn Ficarra as Diemitir Kennelkoff / The Russian, a Russian blue agent sent to set off an explosive device at Professor Brody's lab
- Paul Pape as Wolf Blitzer of CNN
- Richard Steven Horvitz as Puppy at Barn (uncredited)
- Charles Howerton as German Shepherd at the Dog Headquarters (uncredited)
Cats & Dogs received mixed reviews from movie critics. It has a 54% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based upon 115 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10. Metacritic, which uses an aggregate rating system, collected an average score of 47/100, based upon 26 reviews. The Washington Post's Jane Horwitz gave the film a positive review, calling it "[a] surprisingly witty and sophisticated spy movie spoof that will tickle adult pet lovers and still capture kids 6 and older with its boy-and-his-dog love story and pet slapstick." In contrast, Kevin Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote "Irritating, childish and more frantic than funny, Cats & Dogs does manage some few pleasant moments, but they are not worth waiting for."
When released on Independence Day 2001, the movie opened at #1, beating out Scary Movie 2 as it grossed $21,707,617 on a $7,140 average from 3,040 theaters. It however would lose 44% of its gross the next week, as it grabbed the #3 spot its second weekend grossing $12,033,590, falling behind Legally Blonde and The Score. The film grossed $93 million domestically, and $107 million overseas for a total of $200 million worldwide on a $60 million budget.
Awards and nominations
Cats & Dogs was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature Film (Comedy) and Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor (Alexander Pollock). John Debney won the ASCAP Award for his musical contribution to this film as well as The Princess Diaries and Spy Kids.
Heston received the 2001 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his involvement in three films that year, including his role as The Mastiff.
Home Media Release
Cats and Dogs was released on VHS and DVD on October 16, 2001.
Cats & Dogs was rated PG in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and Canada.
A sequel called Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore entered production in September 2008 under the direction of Brad Peyton, and it was released on July 30, 2010. Michael Clarke Duncan, Joe Pantoliano, and Sean Hayes reprise their roles as Sam, Peek, and Mr. Tinkles, while Nick Nolte and Wallace Shawn replace Alec Baldwin and Jon Lovitz as Butch and Calico; and Charlton Heston who voiced The Mastiff from the first movie, died from pneumonia in April 2008. In this movie, Lou is now an adult and is voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. James Marsden, Christina Applegate, and Bette Midler voice new characters named Diggs, Catherine, and Kitty Galore. The sequel was mainly negatively reviewed.
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