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The Cat's Meow

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Cat's Meow

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Cary Elwes
Director: Edward Herrmann
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: April 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, James Laurenson, Ronan Vibert, Edward Herrmann

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

"Welcome to Hollywood, a land just off the coast of planet Earth," the narrator tells us in the "ha ha" funny film THE CAT'S MEOW. In a lame attempt to channel Robert Altman (GOSFORD PARK), director Peter Bogdanovich is unable to create any believable or interesting characters, no matter how much he pumps up the Charleston music aboard William Randolph "WR" Hearst's luxury liner masquerading as a mere yacht.

With the notable exception of Jennifer Tilly as gossip columnist Louella Parsons, none of the casting works. The worst is Eddie Izzard, who gives a lifeless rendition of Charlie Chaplin. Although we are told of Chaplin's scandalous life, Izzard turns the talented and controversial Chaplin into an exceedingly bland person. Kirsten Dunst (CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL), one of Hollywood's most talented young actresses, proves to be all wrong as Marion Davies, WR's mistress. We never believe the relationship between her and Edward Herrmann as WR. Jennifer Jason Leigh would have had the right edge and age for Marion, but Dunst, I'm sorry to say, just comes off as awkward and silly.

The story concerns a murder aboard WR's yacht, where a large group of his friends have come to party. Until the murder occurs at the end, little of consequence happens. The guests all make polite small talk in public while backstabbing each other in private. The flappers dance the night away, having a high old time. I was glad to see someone enjoying themselves since most audience members probably won't.

"It really is rather dull, isn't it?" Louella Parsons comments at one point. There is no one better than a gossip columnist to reveal the unvarnished truth.

THE CAT'S MEOW runs 1:50. It is rated PG-13 for "sexuality, a scene of violence and brief drug use" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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