Friday, February 3, 2012

Puss in Boots - Mixed Reactions

Rated PG for some adventure and mild rude humor
90 minutes
Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis

Remember the $1 movie theaters? I do. I thought they were extinct, but the Arlington Cinema ‘n Drafthouse has $1 Monday Movie Nights. We saw the 4 o’clock show, Puss in Boots. The price was right, our schedule was free, so off to South Arlington we went.

We ordered a juice box, a bottle of water from the friendly waitress, and sat back in our comfy executive office chairs to enjoy the Shrek spin-off. The movie started right away, no previews, no annoying reminder to turn off your cell phone. I had to sharpen my hearing due to the lack of surround stereo sound that I’m used (spoiled) to in a real movie theater. But, again, the price was right, so I wasn’t going to complain. Well, maybe a little complaining went on, internally.

Puss (Antonio Banderas), teams up with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), his childhood buddy from the orphanage, to steal the magic beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) that will take them up the beanstalk to find the golden eggs. Puss and Humpty have a history in that Humpty betrayed Puss, and vice versa. Humpty turns out to be a very bad egg.

As the movie progressed, I watched for my daughter’s reactions. Maybe it was the late afternoon hour, maybe she needed a snack? I worried that she wasn’t enjoying herself with the lack of quality sound, and Antonio’s sometimes hard-to-decipher accent. She hid under her coat when a loud monster stomped through the jungle at the top of the beanstalk. This monster was revealed to be Mother Goose, so not so scary as it turned out. There was violence (of the cartoon variety, but still) and quite a few shady characters, but overall the adventure was very action-packed, and well, Puss is quite loveable.

Before I could even ask her opinion when the show ended, she said, “I love that movie!” There was a funny dance-fight between Puss and Kitty that made an impression. And, all this week, my daughter played with her Kitty Softpaws Happy Meal character, so at least the toy was getting some well-deserved playtime.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought the script (jokes) could be better. Obviously, I am a minority in this opinion because Puss in Boots is nominated for Best Animated Feature in the 84th Academy Awards.

I think I would give the movie another look when it comes out on DVD. But, I’m glad I didn’t plunk down the extra cash to see it in 3D.

Reviewed by Beth Balberchak

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