The fraught cat and mouse games (first showcased in 1940, in the electrifyingly snappy adventure, Puss Gets the Boot) channel the truth that there’s nothing more dangerous than a foe who’s tiny and cute. As a kid, I was surrounded by adorable younger cousins. I loved Jerry, but always identified with Tom.
The problem with this new adventure is that the iconic duo have been sidelined. Instead, the focus is on under-qualified but quick-thinking NYC hotel employee Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), desperate to prove herself by ensuring that a glitzy, half-Indian wedding goes according to plan.
Alas, Kayla’s crises never feel quite sufficiently urgent; we’re a world away from the high-stakes mayhem of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Worse, most of the human-to-human gags are stale.
Moretz herself, though, is fresh and delightfully unkempt (Kayla, when amused, grunts like a pig; it’s very disarming). Also good value is Patsy Ferran, as genuinely whimsical bellhop, Joy.
Under 7s will enjoy the fart jokes, Ken Jeong’s crazy chef and the marauding elephants (who, like all the animals in this universe, are animated). Fans of Droopy will be intrigued by the way he’s reconfigured as a Meds-addled, Arthur Fleck figure, just waiting to explode.
Meanwhile, anyone troubled by the presence of the stereotypical black maid in the original Tom and Jerry shorts, will appreciate the attempts made by Story to show New York as diverse.
Ignore catty reviews that present this caper as soulless. Though horribly flawed, its internal organs are in the right place,