Tom & Jerry: The Movie
- Emma Simmonds
- 26 March 2021
Animated antics meet live-action bemusement in this caper for the kids, starring Chloë Grace Moretz
The ceaseless squabbling of Hanna-Barbera's titular cat and mouse is transposed to a live-action NYC with mixed results. While the setting is fresh and the pair are flanked by hip-hop tunes this time round, there's much that feels old hat. Thankfully, proceedings are enlivened considerably by a top-notch cast who do more than phone it in, and a script that occasionally acknowledges the surrealness of the situation.
Directed by Tim Story (Barbershop, Ride Along, 2005's Fantastic Four) with a screenplay from one of the writers of idiosyncratic indie Brigsby Bear, Kevin Costello, it sees the now computer-animated but still distinctly recognisable pair trying to establish themselves in New York. When Jerry makes himself comfortable at The Royal Gate Hotel it causes all manner of bother for the staff, including new girl Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz). She has swindled her way into a job there, to the displeasure of her events manager colleague Terence (Michael Peña), and ultimately joins forces with Tom to catch the little squeaker.
The hotel-based storyline might not be imaginative, yet keeping it simple was probably a canny call, with things making about as much sense as they were ever going to. However, there is a certain amount of tedium to the repetitive slapstick shenanigans of the eponymous twosome and, while your average four-year-old might find it funny, it's going to try your patience at times. Meanwhile, the storyline involving a high-profile couple's out-of-control wedding feels both underdeveloped and misjudged.
Moretz's game and expressive turn as an enterprising young woman wheedling her way into a workplace is the film's saving grace and she's nicely supported by a dastardly Peña, a dim-witted Rob Delaney (playing the hotel's clueless manager) and other comic pros like Ken Jeong and SNL's Colin Jost, while Bobby Cannavale (as Spike) and Lil Rel Howery (as Tom's angel and devil) are amongst those on voice duty. Such broad and enjoyable performances keep things consistently cartoony and eke every possible laugh out of the material, and Tom & Jerry certainly isn't lacking in the energy department. If it's unlikely to become a future children's classic, it could have been a lot worse.
Available to watch now on premium video on demand.