Tom and Jerry review – a painfully dull animated comedy Crash and Burn

February 28, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews, HBO Max
1.5

Summary

This kiddy incarnation inexplicably loses its knack for animated physical comedy that made the pair legendary. How? Now there is no real meaning behind it.

1.5

Summary

This kiddy incarnation inexplicably loses its knack for animated physical comedy that made the pair legendary. How? Now there is no real meaning behind it.

The new HBO Max film of the week is Tom and Jerry and it’s painfully bad. Woefully bad. I know there is something to say about not every film is made for you or me, but this? If anyone should know the ins and outs of this duo it’s Warner Brothers. This cartoon’s target audience seems to be tailored for those unique children whose medication has little to no effect on their attention deficit disorder.

The film story is poorly conceived. To make matters worse, to cover up any viewers noticing the holes and odd choices the plot has (or lack thereof) is met with a manic animated cat and mouse repeating the same joke over and over without anywhere close to the edgy, clever comedy the original incarnations had. This kiddy incarnation inexplicably loses its knack for animated physical comedy that made the pair legendary. How? Now there is no real meaning behind it.

The rivalry continues in the Big Apple when the devious little mouse, Jerry (credited as Jerome A. Mouse) runs into old rival, Tom (credited as Thomas D. Cat). Of course, he ruins the feline’s keyboard (Tom is musical now). The irritable little rodent gets away by moving into the finest hotel in New York City. A young woman who conned her way into a job as an event planner, Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), has started her first day. She must get rid of the mouse before the start of the biggest wedding in the hotel’s history. So, she hires Tom to get rid of Jerry. Of course, the mayhem happens as this cat-and-mouse game unfolds.

Director Tim Story’s (Shaft, Ride Along, Think Like a Man) film’s biggest problem, besides watching Colin Jost painfully pretend to yank on an animated pooch’s leash (his acting is awful, even by Jerry Seinfeld standards), is that the original short films and series target audience was not for kids. Old school cartoons, like Tom and Jerry and to a lesser extent Looney Tunes, for example, were made for adults. The original didn’t have this duo fighting over wedding cake or keyboard as they do here. There would be smoking, using alcohol, harmful substance abuse, and violence that reflected adult themes. In a world where you can’t connect with someone, you’ll need to crash into them. 

The film has a surprisingly noteworthy comic cast, besides Moretz and Jost, includes Michael Peña, Ken Jeong, and Rob Delaney. They do what they can with a script that was most likely written in crayon. The film’s final scene has the most clever slapstick comedy moments; this is far too late when the previous 95 minutes couldn’t find the stick to go with the slap if it was held at gunpoint.

Tom and Jerry was an edgy animated cartoon. It was known for such over-the-top violence that it was satirized by The Simpsons with The Itchy & Scratchy Show. No one is asking for that level of darkly comic and twisted graphic violence, but couldn’t we have found a bit of bite to go along with its target demographic?

You know a movie is bad when the best comment you can give is that got rid of that era’s 1930’s penchant for offensive racial stereotypes and the despicable use of blackface as entertainment— unfortunately that’s not saying much. Let Tom and Jerry fight it out on their own time and not waste yours.

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