Why Call the Movie “Tom and Jerry” when Tom and Jerry are Reduced to Side Characters?

The moment that Tom and Jerry opened with a rapping pidgeon, I knew that there was little to no hope for this film. Tom and Jerry is a form of entertainment best enjoyed in small, seven minute doses — those doses being so timeless that they could take place in 1951 or 2021, they literally never go stale.

This movie, however… feels stale in the first five minutes and by the end, is downright moldy.

In a world where all of the animals are cartoon characters (something I thought had a lot of potential, but you can kind of tell where that went), a little mouse named Jerry who is a gigantic festering boil on society decides to move into a hotel after destroying the electric organ of Tom the Cat who is, as luck would have it, hired by the hotel to rid itself of the horrible mouse.

If we would have left the movie right there, everything would have been… well, it probably wouldn’t have been fine, but it at least would have been acceptable. But, no… the movie wasn’t left there because this is a big screen adaptation of a beloved cartoon and, naturally, the studio believes that means we should make the movie primarily about human characters for some stupid reason.

Enter Chloë Grace Moretz who plays a con artist who swindles herself into a job at the hotel because I guess she thinks she deserves it. Moretz gets into a battle of wills with Michael Pena who plays some guy at the hotel that I don’t even remember because I cared just that much. They don’t like each other very much and I guess we’re supposed to be against Pena even though Moretz is the liar who cons her way into a job, robbing it from someone who clearly deserved it but, you know… movie.

Things are further complicated as the hotel is preparing for the mother of all weddings as a rich jerk is getting ready to marry his girlfriend and, yeah… you’re bored with this, aren’t you?

Imagine how I felt when I realized this is only one half hour into this ordeal.

Guys… Tom and Jerry are supporting characters in their own movie. That wouldn’t be a problem if the movie had provided us with a plot and characters worth a tinker’s cuss, but it doesn’t. Moretz, Pena, the soon to be married couple… they’re all just… terrible. Moretz herself is literally slumming through this role. You can tell that she doesn’t care about a single line she utters, you can tell that she couldn’t care less about a single scene. Pena isn’t much better, turning in a performance so devoid of energy and passion, you can almost see him figuring out in his head which car he should buy with his paycheck.

I literally could not care less about the human characters or human struggles in this movie. They were paint-peelingly dull.

Tom and Jerry, when the movie felt obligated to spend any time with them, were fine. They are done in CGI made to look like hand-drawn cartoons and, for the most part, it doesn’t look terrible, but some of it does have that cell-shaded video game cutscene quality to it that makes it feel incredibly cheap.

However, like I said, the Tom and Jerry dynamic simply does not support anything over ten minutes long. It gets old and, given that Jerry is portrayed as even a more despicable creature that he usually is… I mean, he steals a wedding ring at one point and the movie acts like it’s cute, even they get boring as nothing new is done with them.

I was bored. I was bored with the plot, I was bored with the characters, I was bored with the lazy way the filmmakers tried to make Tom and Jerry relevant again with contemporary music, and technology only to make the automatically irrelevant and dated.

This is one of those movies assembled by committee and focus group without a single care or consideration given to what made Tom and Jerry great in the first place. If there was a point, this movie not only missed it, but flew overhead and landed three time zones away.

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