Tom & Jerry The Movie review – sanitised relaunch of the cat and mouse combatants | Film

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Whoever wins, parents lose. While there’s little to truly loathe in Fantastic Four and Ride Along director Tim Story’s frantic new take on Tom & Jerry, there’s also an equal lack of anything to truly love; this is a serviceable, if entirely forgettable attempt to relaunch an old property for a new audience. Very young kids might find some enjoyment in the brightly hued, fast-paced mania of it all, but those with any real affection for the pair of violently opposed animals will leave unimpressed.

With a script that feels lazily retrofitted to revolve around the two animals rather than designed directly for them, this is basically a kids’ movie about antics in a New York hotel that pauses every so often to feature a sanitised fight between the pair. The decision to combine live action with animation often jars (every human is real, every animal is animated) and, within the realism of Manhattan, we’re then left with questions about the rules that have been haphazardly set up. (Why, for example, can some animals talk but not others? Violence seems to cause no harm to animals, so would humans also be immune?). These are questions that we perhaps wouldn’t be forced to ask if the film itself were more engaging.

Chloë Grace Moretz, playing a grifter turned hotel employee turned cat and mouse peacemaker, is at least well-suited to the material. Her precocious brand of acting has seemed to pause rather than progress as she segues from child to adulthood, but her over-pronounced comedy works well here – there’s a brisk efficiency to her scenes with suspicious co-workers played by Rob Delaney and Michael Peña (both far more comfortable than SNL’s Colin Jost, fully lost). The animals themselves are a little underpowered, their signature scraps never quite inventive or audacious enough. The film’s sunny energy and its refreshing lack of toilet humour (something that’s stunk up many a kids’ movie in recent years) makes it an inoffensive effort, but it’ll race from your memory faster than Jerry from Tom.

Tom & Jerry The Movie is released on 25 March on digital platforms.

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