Cert – PG, Run-time – 1 hour 41 minutes, Director – Tim Story
After lying her way into a job at a high-end New York hotel, Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds herself employing cat Tom to deal with mouse Jerry, who has made a home in the hotel walls, while trying not to disturb an upcoming influencer wedding.
Judas And The Black Messiah’s acting Oscar nods raised a number of questions when recently announced? How can the title characters both be played by supporting actors – at least one is surely the lead, especially when the two are highly prominent within the story and almost always at least one is on screen? Now, in Warner Bros latest, the title characters are certainly support – although in this case it’s highly unlikely the film will be receiving any major awards nominations.
Instead we focus on Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young woman who has, to her own surprise, blagged her way into a job at a high-end New York City hotel. Everything is precise, clean and expertly maintained in hundreds of rooms and suites across the 21 floor layout. It’s exactly the way that smiling general manager Henry (Rob Delaney) and suspicious events manager Terence (Michael Peña) wish to keep it. Especially in the run-up to a highly publicised influencer wedding (between Colin Jost’s Ben and Pallavi Shada’s Preeta) taking place in just a matter of days. This is, of course, the worst time to have a mouse problem. Cue Jerry making his home in the hotel walls. With Kayla tasked with removing the animated rodent she hires other half of the classic double act Tom to sort things out.
The pair’s slapstick actions are left aside for most of the run-time, only thrown to every now and then, as we primarily follow Kayla trying to keep her job for a week, despite being severely unqualified for the position. When they do get their time to shine there seems little impact, it almost feels as if the creators aren’t sure as to what they should be doing with the iconic enemies. “This not talking thing is really getting old” shouts one character in what feels like a channelling of the thoughts and feelings of the creatives in regards to the titular duo – who remain mute, aside from the odd grunt, scream and giggle, throughout, unlike the generally weak-middling received 1992 film. In fact, the pair don’t overly get a proper moment until just over half an hour in, some mild exposition and brief early glimpses of chaos – Tom aspires to tour with John Legend while Jerry simply wants to find a good home – but nothing major. Even once the main course for the duo’s antagonism is established we get odd moments such as flossing (which only just felt relevant when Wreck-It-Ralph did it back in 2018) and highly autotuned piano ballads – alongside an oddly hip-hop, rap heavy soundtrack.
While there’s a fairly amusing skateboard chase it comes very late in the day and simply makes you wonder why the rest of the film couldn’t have been like this. At least we finally see Tom and Jerry doing something beneficial, even if by this point the plot has become a series of cliché chunks. The majority of the film simply seems tired, uncertain (much like some of the cast, Moretz tries to give the weak material her best), and somehow out of date. This iteration of Tom And Jerry, causing occasional minor damage to locations that are apparently within the Big Apple, feels as if it belongs more to the period of live-action CG hybrids such as Yogi Bear and Alvin And The Chipmunks, which even in the late-2000’s – early 2010’s felt somewhat tired and out of date.
Tom And Jerry’s major problem is that it feels unsure as to what to do with its title characters, pushing them aside to make way for a tired plot. By replacing hammers for hotels the film lacks humour and indeed chaos.