After the James Bond-inspired title sequence, which includes a reworked version of Shirley Bassey singing "Get the Party Started," it's all downhill.
To call this sequel unnecessary would be both obvious and irrelevant. The box-office success of 2001's Cats & Dogs guaranteed its return. Still, you'd think after pulling in more than $200 million worldwide (sickening, isn't it?), Warner Bros. would've put a little cash into script development, voice talent, CGI effects or even a couple of decent jokes. Instead, they've released this cheap-looking piece of crap, layering on barely noticeable 3-D effects to jack up ticket prices.
Bad was expected, but embarrassingly bad? You have to strive for that kind of failure.
For those keeping score: German shepherd Diggs (voiced by James Marsden) is a fearless police dog who has trouble following orders. He's recruited to become an agent for an elite team of canine spies called DOGS (the wit of Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich's script never ceases to amaze). Partnered with seasoned agent Butch (Nick Nolte making a house payment), the two discover that the evil, ugly-as-sin feline Kitty Galore (Bette Midler) has developed a weapon that will turn dogs against their owners. Forming an alliance with MEOWS (Mousers Enforcing Our World Safety), a clandestine feline outfit, Diggs must overcome his hatred of cats while working alongside Catherina (voice of Christina Applegate). But no shitty kids' flick is complete without a jive-talking Step-n-Fetchit sidekick, which in this case is a pigeon voiced by Katt Williams.
Dull, unfunny (wasn't Carrie Fisher available to punch up a few jokes?) and shoddily produced, this is Hollywood at its most craven, the equivalent of bottom-rack gas station junk food. The best thing that can be said for Cats & Dogs 2 is the opening Road Runner cartoon is mildly amusing (but not a Looney Tunes original). Pathetically, the writers and producers aren't even clever enough to take a cue from their opening, only sporadically remembering to throw in a humor-ish homage to 007.
While there's a certain joy in hearing Roger Moore talk of butt-sniffing, parents will check watches every 15 minutes while the kiddies giggle at softball potty humor and animals that — gasp — digitally talk. If you absolutely must attend, don't waste a cent on the 3-D.
Jeff Meyers is a film critic for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].