Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a thrill-seeking corporate man; a no-nonsense upper crust suit whose company is warring against a competitor to build the tallest building in the Northern hemisphere. However, another exec at Brand’s company is aiming to usurp his power. This is exactly what children want in a movie: building contractors and heated discussions about public offerings. With this narrative intrigue, it is almost a shame when Spacey turns into a cat!
In all seriousness, Nine Lives holds a premise that has been done-to-death to the point of grinding an ugly groove in the cinema landscape. Even when the body switch occurs in the film, Spacey’s initial reaction is a snide “Seriously,” echoing our exact feeling as an audience: here we go, another body switch movie, because they have so much yet to teach us about being better people.
It is no doubt that Kevin Spacey is one of the best actors in Hollywood right now, even if he has become typecast in recent years. This said, his casting in this film is strange. Here he does fine, but he has played more invigorating businessmen in the past. His sneering, sarcastic wit shines through, but re-watches of House of Cards could satisfy an urge for that more readily and with greater effect. Of course, kids should not be watching House of Cards, but they probably should not watch a cat get drunk off of scotch, either.
Most of this movie entails Spacey providing ADR quips to characters who cannot respond to him. It is a premise worn thin upon inception. You can only get so far on cat pratfalls and the dismemberment of a photo of George W. Bush. In a way, it is playfully absurd to see Christopher Walken talk to a cat, but that novelty is by no means enough to warrant this film.
At its heart, Nine Lives is a movie about coping with grief, but its tired premise and lackadaisical hi-jinks makes it less of an attraction than an outdated cat meme.
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)