Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse are both moving to New York City. Tom hopes his piano-playing chops might earn him a bit of scratch. And Jerry wants, well, he’d be happy with a nice little mouse hole, a bit of cheese and a semi-decent view.
Of course, they’re not the only ones trying to nibble out a living in the Big Apple. Young twentysomething Kayla is trying to make her way there, too. But finding employment and success isn’t as easy as it looks on Instagram.
Soon, all three of them intersect at a really swanky hotel in the heart of the city. It turns out that the wedding of the century—between super-rich Indian heiress, Preeta; and her wealthy American boyfriend, Ben—is about to take place at the Royal Gate hotel. And after stealing someone else’s résumé, Kayla gets hired as part-time staff.
Her first big job? She needs to take care of a little mouse issue that just popped up in the famous hotel. After all, if somebody noticed a scurrying rodent—aka Jerry the mouse—during the biggest event of the season, it could cause havoc with the hotel’s reputation. So, Kayla hires a local cat named Tom, whom she recently stumbled across, to help her exterminate that little furry annoyance.
There’s only one big problem. When you mix a smart little mouse and an aggressive cat into a huge elaborate wedding featuring elephants, exotic birds and a tiger … someone could well end up in the doghouse.
There are a number of good lessons for kids here. The film makes it clear that deceit and lying will lead to a comeuppance. And after apologizing for making exactly those kinds of choices, Kayla even goes so far as finding the person whose résumé she stole, publicly apologizing and trying to make things right. A newlywed couple—who almost cancel their wedding—learn that taking the time not only to love, but to listen to each other is of vital importance in a successful marriage.
At one point, a discouraged Kayla talks about her expectations and failings, noting that it seems as if everyone her age in her newsfeed has already found success. In response, her friend Cameron states, “Maybe we just need to stop comparing ourselves to everybody and just work for it!”
It’s made clear, even in Tom and Jerry’s case, that getting along with each other and learning to work together is the only good and productive way to go.
Someone says, “Thank the Lord.” A song’s lyrics include the phrase, “Thank God you’re still here.”
Tom has several moments when his good and bad sides—represented by a small devil Tom and angel Tom—talk about decisions that need to be made. In each case, the devil Tom tricks or outmaneuvers his better version, driving Tom to make an aggressive, unwise choice.
Preeta and Ben kiss after getting married.
Comedic cartoon hijinks, pratfalls and violence abound. And though all of the different animal characters are at some point pummeled or bounced around, Tom tends to always be the one who gets the worst of it—even when he is essentially an innocent bystander. On several different occasions, Tom and Jerry chase, smash and slam their way around a room, lobby or hallway in the hotel, destroying things as they go.
And other animated critters—including a large bulldog, a pair of elephants, a tiger and a small menagerie of other animals—get in on the brawling action, too. At several points those squabbles become a destructive whirlwind of action that unleashes scenery-chewing havoc that includes smashing into windows, doors and walls as well as drawing humans into the swirling, head-thumping mix. Heavy objects, such as bowling balls and baseball bats, get bashed down on heads and fingers; hot irons smash faces; characters face-plant on walls and floors; windows and glass ceilings are shattered; characters are electrocuted; and teeth are spit out.
Animals eating other animals is also occasionally a part of the cartoon mix here. For instance, Tom gobbles a large fish, pulling the skeletal remains out of his mouth. And he’s forced by a gang of heavy-fisted alley cats to put Jerry in his mouth and told to chew him (though he doesn’t).
We hear one use of “gosh” and a handful of “oh my god” exclamations. Someone makes a winkingly suggestive comment when asked about something with a wi-fi connection saying, “Why the fi not?”
We see Jerry drinking a glass of what looks like champagne. Tom joins in, too. It’s then, though, that we notice that it’s a bottle of sparkling cider that they’re enjoying.
There is a lot of flowing champagne for humans, however, before, during and after the wedding celebration.
Amid all of this movie’s, uh, tomfoolery, Jerry is particularly irritating. He’s the one who generally coaxes Tom, in annoying ways, to chase him. He also steals quite a few objects, including a very valuable engagement ring, to adorn his new digs in the hotel. That said, Tom doesn’t always make the wisest choices either. And one time, he even tries to get more money by tricking people into believing he is blind.
The movie also spreads some toilet humor around in its script—focusing on animal defecation (offscreen), passing gas, and things like taking a picture of one’s backside on a copy machine.
On the human side of things, Kayla steals and lies, too. (Though in her case, those actions eventually catch up to her, and she apologizes for her actions and strives to correct her wrongs.)
Things start off here with a flyover of New York City that’s underscored by A Tribe Called Quest’s hip-hop tune, “Can I Kick It?” And that definitely let’s viewers know right out of the dog gate that this isn’t your grandfather’s Tom and Jerry.
From there, things admittedly feel a bit odd. The now-familiar blend of live action and frantic animation chases its own tail a little too often. Tom, who’s constantly getting thumped about by an irritating Jerry, feels a little more violent in this modern era than you might expect. And the fact that the animated “stars” of the film are relegated to silent supporting roles in someone else’s story—and a fairly unimaginative and ho-hum one at that—had me feeling like the filmmakers were clawing their way up the wrong cat-scratch post.
Once I settled in and decided not to give it all up for a catnap, I found some things that were worth sticking around for. There are indeed some fun moments in the cat-and-mouse antics. The human leads learn lessons from their poor choices. And younger viewers will gain from light encouragements to get along, as this reboot emphasizes learning from and listening to one another, and working together.
Hey, there’s even some solid advice here for social-media addicts to stop needlessly comparing themselves to all those seemingly successful Insta influencers online. By the time the credits started to roll, I even found myself feeling a bit nostalgic.
Granted this pic won’t leave anyone purring to beat the band. But it won’t make you want to scratch the furniture either.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.