Movie Review: “Tom & Jerry” terrorize NYC

It’s a Tom & Jerry cartoon, so we’re not splitting the atom here.

Besides, I’m pretty sure Jerry split that sucker over Tom’s noggin back in the ’50s, when they were at MGM.

The “Tom & Jerry” movie is, first and foremost, cute. Animated animals — cats, a mouse, a rat, a dog, a goldfish, singing pigeons, peacocks and elephants — in live-action with real people New York city cute.

Co-starring them with Chloë Grace Moretz? Cute. And Michael Peña? Cute too. Colin Jost, playing an over-the-top groom in an extravagant Indian wedding? Kind of cute.

Ken Jeong as a chef? Dr. Ken’s act has worn kind of thin, but you can’t win ’em all.

This farce, scripted by Kevin Costello and directed by Tim Story (“Shaft,” the “Ride Along” movies) has a little flavor of the city, a hint of funk and the classic Tom & Jerry conflict.

Tom scratches out a living busking on his portable keyboard as a blind, piano-playing cat who dreams of opening for John Legend. Opportunist Jerry horns in on his act.

Let the violent mayhem begin, with baseball bats and meat tenderizers, scissors and hammers, pratfalls and splats, TZOLTS of electric shock and plenty of “Ooogah OOOgah” sound effects.

The setting is a swank hotel about to host the wedding of a couple of social media darlings (Jost and Pallavi Sharda). Naturally, that’s the place Jerry figures is his new home. Naturally, the vengeful Tom pursues him there.

Kayla is the hustler who fakes her way into a job at the Royal Gate. Peña is her boss, Jeong the harassed head chef.

With a big wedding getting bigger every second because of the groom’s egocentric elephantiasis, what could go wrong?

The gags include mute Tom’s way of communicating with Kayla — more and more elaborate games of “charades,” even though, when the spirit moves him, he can warble a fair auto-tuned Ray Charles imitation from the keyboard.

The script takes swings at “The Warriors” and “Dueling Banjoes,” Steve Bartman and PETA and “millennials.” Jerry still likes olives in his martinis. Tom is more of an oenophile.

Kayla on a mouse hunt? “I’ll CATCH him…or her. I’m not gender biased!”

The groom’s bulldog Spike? “I’m sorry,” Jost cracks. “He’s a little animated.”

The target demo here is the same as it ever was — 8-and-under. There’s plenty of slapstick and critter gags for them, crashing furniture, trashed hotel rooms and wedding party mishaps.

The rest of us? “Cute” it is and cute these two forever will be.

MPA Rating: PG for cartoon violence, rude humor and brief language 

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Pallavi Sharda, Jordan Bolger, Patsy Ferran and Ken Jeong

Credits: Directed by Tim Story, script by  Kevin Costello, based on characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. A Warner Bros. release (HBO Max).

Running time: 1:41

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.