Tom and Jerry Asks the Question: What If the Whole World was Toontown?

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Tom and Jerry the Movie

Tom and Jerry, the Hanna-Barbera cat-and-mouse frenemies, have had a fairly decent run of direct-to-DVD animated adventures, where our heroes get dropped into animated versions of classic movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps this success emboldened the decision to make the jump to the big screen with Tom and Jerry: The Movie. If so, they might have stuck with the formula that was working, choosing to animate yet another classic movie with the titular characters running hijinks behind the plot.

Instead, we get a live-action remake of what is essentially Eloise at the Plaza where the actors interact with the cartoon animals. And I don't mean just Tom and Jerry, or even Spike the dog. In this film, every animal -- every single one, worldwide -- is a cartoon. The fish in the bowl of the hotel manager is a cartoon. The fish at the market in a later scene are all cartoons (which pretty much means any meat-eater in the film is eating ink). The elephants, the pigeons, the peacocks -- all are talking cartoon animals. It's just the way this world works (although why Tom and Jerry are both struck mute and forced to pantomime their communications when every other animal can converse is an unsolved mystery).

So here's the story: Jerry is homeless. Tom is homeless, but Tom at least has a grift going, playing keyboard in the park while pretending to be blind. Jerry horns in, Tom loses his grift, and the grudge match is on. Eventually they both slip into a grand hotel, where Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) is pulling a scam of her own, getting hired as an event coordinator with someone else's resume. She struggles to fake it under the watchful, suspicious eye of her boss, Terence (Michael Peña), eventually assigned with the task of ridding the hotel of it's mouse problem (i.e. Jerry).

Add on to this a wedding to be planned and salvaged, the impending visit of a hotel inspector, and other forgettable items, and what you get is a fairly lackluster movie plot interrupted now and again by classic but not new cartoon hijinks with cartoon physics. I get that the live action characters must be cartoons in their own rights, but Tom and Jerry: The Movie somehow takes talented actors that I love, pairs them with cartoon favorites from my childhood, and produces something that's painful to watch once, and won't be watched again.

3.0 / 5.0