The Shrek series got a big boost when a feisty feline named Puss joined the cast for its second go ‘round.
He added a bit of mystery, a dose of humor and some serious cool to the series, but can such a cool kitty carry a flick by his lonesome?
The simple answer: Yes.
Antonio Banderas brings the feline to vivid form in the new animated features Puss in Boots, a film that plays like the Shrek films in comedic form and ultimate result. The jokes work for that young set, but for the adults in the audience who are willing to take their appreciation of ribald humor to the next level, most of the jokes land that double jab for twice the laughter.
Rather than going forward with Puss’ story where the Shrek films left off, we’re given the feline’s backstory and a rather funny tale it is.
Turns out little Puss was an orphan, abandoned in a small town Spanish home and raised by its owner. It’s there, where that cuddly little kitty with the puppy dog eyes meets his brother, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Yes, I know the gene pool isn’t exactly similar, but you have to crack a few eggs to make a fairy tale and suspend disbelief, so go with it.
Humpty, who hasn’t seen Puss in years because he’s held a grudge over leaving him shattered for the king’s men to find him, solicits his brother’s help in getting some magic beans, so that they can kidnap the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs.
Humpty also introduces him to his co-hort, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), a young feline who makes Puss purr in more than one way.
Together they set out on their adventure providing plenty of laughs, some action and more than a few double entendres.
Banderas wears the role of Puss like an old, comfy, terry cloth robe. He’s sly, intelligent and most importantly, funny. As the siren Hayek has her share of fun and Galifianakis brings his share of mirth and merrymaking.
As is the custom with animated flicks produced by DreamWorks it looks gorgeous, but more importantly Chris Miller’s comfort with the character of Puss – he directed Shrek 3 – translates well here.
It’s the first family friendly film of the holiday season and it’s fairly irresistable. Take the children and enjoy.
Movie: Puss in Boots
Director: Chris Miller
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thorton
Studio: DreamWorks Animation-Paramount
Rated: PG (adventure action and mild rude humor)
Running time: 91 minutes
George’s rating: 3.5-out-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com