I’m almost always down for a live action adaptation of a classic cartoon, they can be fun to just sit back and enjoy. There have been plenty of these type films from the past that I’ve enjoyed a great deal, such as Scooby Doo (2002), The Flintstones (1994), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and more.
In the case of this brand new film, the result is unfortunately not that good. Tom & Jerry isn’t an awful film, it’s just aggressively average and very forgettable. The cast does what they can, Chloe Grace Moretz most notably, but they can’t do enough to make this worthy of a recommendation.
Chloe Grace Moretz does a pretty good job here as the lead live action character. To be honest, all Moretz really has to do in this role is be fairly likable and she pulls that off. I wish there was some more for her to sink her teeth into here, but the script doesn’t allow for her to do a whole hell of a lot.
Michael Pena plays Moretz’s boss at the hotel she’s working at and I’m glad he plays an unlikable character; Pena does best when playing someone I don’t have to like. I’ve seen him in other films where he plays someone the audience is supposed to pull for, and in my opinion, that just doesn’t work very well.
Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda play a high profile couple getting married at the hotel this whole film takes place at. Sharda gives a better and more impactful performance than Jost and I think that’s because Jost is given a lot of poor “comedic” material here that doesn’t ever land well. I like Jost a lot on SNL, he’s definitely talented, but this script just leaves him hanging.
Ken Jeong has a small part in this…. unfortunately. I’m sorry but I just don’t get him, he’s never entertained me and his role in this did not change my opinion of him at all. He doesn’t have any real comedy, he just shows up to act crazy a couple times and it’s cringeworthy.
The script is what’s responsible for holding this back from being what it could have been. It is surprisingly boring and it never really makes an effort to draw the audience in. Films like this are supposed to be pure fun and there isn’t much real fun to be found in this film’s rather lame journey. The “comedy” is very dry and I didn’t laugh at any of the attempted jokes.
On top of the dry comedy, there’s also the Jost-Sharda romantic side story and that whole thing just comes off as random and has a “why should we care” energy about it. There’s no fun entertaining plot for this film to follow. Live action cartoon adaptations like this work best when there’s a strong sense of adventure and fun but it feels like all of that was squeezed out of Tom & Jerry.
On the bright side, I did like the animation style they used. I thought all the animated characters, Tom and Jerry especially, all looked very nice. The 2D animation has a more classic look, it always reminds me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which is a FAR FAR superior film.
Watching this will just make you wish you were watching Roger Rabbit. It’s very unfortunate because they had an opportunity with this film to create a funny, adventurous cartoon adaptation that was worth while. Instead of going for the gold, they phoned it in with this.
I think it was a big mistake to have this all take place at a New York hotel too, that really limits the films scope and sense of adventure. I would be open to Warner Brothers making a sequel to this with a better script because the animation is very good. But if they decide to make another, they better actually put some effort behind it. It doesn’t seem like much effort was thrown behind this project.
Unfortunately, Tom & Jerry doesn’t earn a recommendation from me due to it’s boring, lame script. If only the writing was as good as the animation or Chloe Grace Moretz.
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