Nine Lives Review (2016): New Family Film Needs to be Neutered

nine lives

Nine Lives is the strangest movie I have seen in some time.

Besides having the look and feel of a mid-2000s Disney Channel movie, it has a dark undercurrent that is off-putting, especially since it is a film geared towards families. More on that later.

The most perplexing thing about Barry Sonnefeld’s (Men in Black) movie is that it attracted the likes of two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, Oscar Winner Christopher Walken and the always lovely Jennifer Garner. They read this script and willingly signed on to such a dud and I can’t understand why. Maybe they owed someone a favor? If they all just needed the money, I urge you to donate to the GoFundMe page I will begin for them once I am done writing this review.

Spacey stars as New York billionaire businessman, Tom Brand, who is working on having his named on the tallest building overlooking the city. This is all he cares about, forget his wife, Lara (Garner), and young daughter (Malina Weissman), who wait for him at home wondering when he may ever return. Tom never cared about anything besides himself or his business dealings. “Your son had to fill out an application just to see you,” Lara reminds him of his older son, David (Robbie Amell), from his previous marriage.

Tom just scoffs at her pleas to be a more present father and husband. He can buy anyone presents to make his absence acceptable. For his daughter’s birthday, she asks for a cat, so Tom stops and buys one from a shadowy cat whisperer (Walken, naturally). Events transpire and Tom ends up in a coma and his soul inside of the cat.

Seems like harmless family stuff, right? Well throughout the course of the film, we have the absentee father and his bitter ex-wife. Then there’s the question of if daddy will ever make it out of the coma. Oh, not to mention, it is heavily implied that one character plans on committing suicide. It’s all fine because Spacey’s cat pees on rugs, in purses and even stumbles around drunk in the name of wackiness.

Stunningly, there are five screenwriters credited to Nine Lives. Together they don’t find any kind of balance in tone to make this an enjoyable, silly-stupid family movie. This movie is all over the map and somehow, someway, its final draft was greenlit.

I’m not being harsh on this film for being a dumb family film. I’m being harsh on this film because it is completely warranted. The movie produces exactly one laugh off of a joke and a handful of laughs from how shockingly stupid it all is – not to mention a few cringes because it’s really a nasty film.

1 out of 10

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