Among other offenses, the 2001 talking-animal comedy Cats & Dogs was a pernicious piece of anti-cat propaganda, firmly siding with the canines in the eternal struggle between household pets. Never mind that cats more or less take care of themselves, and spend most of the time curling up in the warmest, comfiest places they can find—they’re prissy and diabolical and must be stopped. The sequel, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, eases off on the hatefulness by providing a token nice kitty, but even she’s subjected to waterboarding before she can be trusted. (Yes, a waterboarding joke. Because cats and dogs are just like people! Soooo cute!) But it’s still about a feline plot for world domination, and the slobbering secret agents who stand in the way. And it’s still, in the spirit of the original film, an unbelievable piece of shit.
Most of the problems are fundamental to the series: Having real animals speak through the hideous magic of CGI is inherently creepy, and it’s depressing to hear kitty and doggy thoughts come out so banal and jokey. There’s also the weird premise of household pets being rogue, tech-heavy super-spies: Whose fantasy is that? As the subtitle suggests, The Revenge Of Kitty Galore expands on the James Bond theme, including a voice cameo from everybody’s fourth or fifth-favorite Bond, Roger Moore. This time around, members of a canine spy network recruit a disgraced police dog (James Marsden) to stop Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), a “radical felinist” who plans to unleash a sound that will cause dogs to turn on their human owners. The action plays out much like an all-human third-rate Bond thriller would, only with groan-inducing puns, dogs in sunglasses (cue “Bad To The Bone”), and a visual aesthetic that could only be described as “Hang In There”-poster-esque. The world waited nine years for Cats & Dogs to expand its mythology; let’s hold out longer next time.