Nine Lives (2016)

Nine Lives poster.png
As fun as coughing up a hairball

Director: Barry Sonnenfield
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Cheryl Hines, Malina Weissman, Christopher Walken, Mark Consuelos, Teddy Sears, Talitha Bateman

Early on in the picture, a moment occurs which epitomises everything about this picture. Christopher Walken walks to the counter of his shop, where Kevin Spacey currently is situated, and the two share a look. One gets the feeling they're sharing the same thought as all others involved: "How the *insert expletive* did I get here?".

Billionaire Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is in the process of his biggest achievement, building the tallest skyscraper in North America. The result has distanced himself from his family, and angered the board members of his company. While getting a cat for his daughter's 11th birthday, an accident occurs, which leaves him trapped in a cats body.

From the opening scene, Barry Sonnenfield seems to have misjudged what works as an actual gag. The random cat videos and scenes of cats staring at the camera seem to have included for this purpose, albeit a lethargic one. Granted, laziness should be no surprise, considering how by the numbers and emotionally manipulative the moments of character development are.

But those latter moments may as well not exist, by how little they help to develop Brand's character. From the word go, this lead of ours proves to be an egomaniac who uses his company resources and finances to stroke his ego, through making his building bigger. Never mind he passes up chances for his company to do actual work, but we're expected to root for this unlikeable guy just because he gets turned into a cat. If anything, it's deserved of him.

Image result for nine lives youtubeAs one wonders why Kevin Spacey agreed to partake in this, his fed up nature is evident whenever he's required to speak (thankfully, the cat doesn't move its mouth). While Christopher Walken seems to have wondered in out of nowhere, displaying intuition that would earn him a spot on Charles Xavier's X-Men. Special mention goes to the effects on our lead cat, which prove glaring on a rather embarrassing level.

One wonders if Barry Sonnenfield was aware of the target audience. Many scenes are inhabited by financial talk which will leave kids bored, while the childish sense of humour will leave adults rolling their eyes. Most surprising is how cruel this picture seems to be,  with our lead undergoing the transformation after his business associate let's him fall off the top of his extremely large building, or that he's on a race against time before his body dies out. The finale is especially troubling, as our feline lead try preventing a character from supposedly committing suicide. It's a crass attempt to round things up that reeks of emotional manipulation.

Nine Lives won't leave viewers caring about the characters, least of all our lead. All that'll be left in viewers mind is wondering what disturbing secret Kevin Spacey kept hidden through starring in this cinematic dross, or why it wasn't released straight to DVD. If this film were a living creature, one would be doing a great service by stuffing it in a bag full of rocks and throwing it in a river.