3 out of 5 stars (average)
The marketing for Tom & Jerry is atrocious. The trailer promotes a loud, obnoxious cash grab trying so hard to be “cool” you’d think we’d time travelled back to 1995. Shockingly, the film itself is a clever family comedy with plenty of verbal wit to balance out the cartoon shenanigans and some great comic performances to boot. After a worryingly shaky start, Tom & Jerry reveals itself as a clever and wacky family comedy that will leave kids rolling in the isles (or living rooms) and their parents pleasantly surprised.
Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) has conned her way into a temporary position at the high-end Royal Gate Hotel. A huge wedding is happening there within the week, leaving Events Manager Terrance (a hilarious Michael Pena) under great stress. When Kayla is assigned to dispose of mouse Jerry from the animal-free abode, she hires cat Tom for the job unaware of their age-old rivalry that could turn the hotel upside down.
Tom & Jerry makes a terrible first impression. We open with a lengthy T&J chase sequence intercut with Kayla stealing someone’s resume to get the hotel position. However, she becomes more likable as the film goes on and the humor picks up once the plot is established. Moretz and Pena are comedic standouts, but the remaining human cast (though underused) gets moments to shine. The animation is well-integrated into the real-life setting and the energetic slapstick sequences never outstay their welcome.
There’s a curiously underdeveloped subplot that feels like a remnant from a previous script (the film began development back in 2009) and the hip-hop-heavy soundtrack is often jarring, but the writing, slapstick, and performances are strong enough to compensate. I also applaud the filmmakers for crafting a story around Tom and Jerry’s antics rather than coasting on them for 100 minutes straight. This isn’t a family classic in waiting, but it is a solid all-ages outing either in a theater or your living room with HBOMax through March 28, 2021.
Tom & Jerry trips at the starting line, but quickly becomes a breezy and clever family comedy that should satisfy kids and adults on equal levels. Scamper to your theater (or couch) and See Tom & Jerry.
Rated PG for Mild Action, Brief Mild Language, and Rude Humor