Theatrical Review: Puss In Boots

That suave and adventurous feline, Puss In Boots has returned to the village of San Ricardo to make one more big score, even though he has a price on his head.  Puss learns of a treasure held by the thieving couple Jack and Jill; magic beans that will grow a giant beanstalk leading him to the goose that lays the golden eggs. But Puss isn’t the only one after the magic beans and now he must contend with another pair also seeking the beans, Kitty Softpaws and Puss’ childhood friend, Humpty Dumpty.

That’s the premise of Puss In Boots, a spin-off of Dreamworks’ popular Shrek movies.  I really enjoyed the first two Shrek films, got sort of burned out by the third and never saw the fourth.  But, I absolutely loved the trailer for Puss In Boots, I thought it was hilarious and so I marked this one down as one to see (even though I’m running a week behind with it).

For the most part, Puss In Boots is pretty enjoyable.  It not only has it’s main heist, but it also delves into the origins of the devil-may-care cat.  It’s certainly technically proficient with terrific animation all throughout and it certainly makes great use of 3D, in particular with a few chase sequences and a terrific bit of business when the beanstalk grows.  For me anyway, it falls just a little short with it’s humor with many of the best gags being in the trailer (pretty much par for the course for most theatrical comedies today).  Now that’s not to say that there aren’t any more funny moments after that, there certainly are.  But considering how funny I thought the trailer was, I was hoping to see that brand of humor sustained entirely throughout the film.  Instead, this takes more time to focus on the past friendship of Humpy Dumpty and Puss and I think a little less of that would’ve been more than enough and a little more cat and egg humor would’ve been more pleasing.  Again, that’s not to say that those moments aren’t in there, there’s just not enough for my own total satisfaction.

Antonio Banderas returns to voice Puss and you can really tell that he has a lot of fun with this.  Puss is totally designed to play off of Banderas’ identity and he certainly plays it to the hilt.  He’s at his best though when this goes for the cat humor, and as I said above, I just wish there’s been more of that throughout the film.  Salma Hayek (Kitty Softpaws), Zach Galifianakis (Humpty Dumpty), Billy Bob Thornton (Jack) and Amy Sedaris (Jill) all fill out the rest of the main voice cast and do respectable jobs, but really this is Banderas’ movie.

Even with my complaint, I had a pretty good time with this, and certainly more fun than I had with Shrek The Third. I just wish that all of the best gags weren’t just seen in the trailer.  Younger children will probably have a terrific time with this, but for adults, this doesn’t quite pack the same punch that you’d get with a Pixar film (the Cars series withstanding).  Puss In Boots is fun, but just not as funny as it could be.

By Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

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