By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
Kitty litter . . . hairballs . . . cat's meow. The fur is flying as critics universallyand predictablytore apart Catwoman. No review was free of bad puns or allusions to the feline persuasion, though some did try.
The headline of the New York Post's review read "Kitty Litter." The Post wins the award for most feline references in one sentence. "A purr-fectly ridiculous and boring cat-astrophe, Catwoman more than lives up to the lethal advance buzz andeven with Halle Berry cavorting like a third-rate dominatrixis about as sexy as a hairball."
Whereas the Daily News wins for most references in one review: "Unfortunately, it's too late to do anything about Catwoman, which litters the nation's screens beginning at midnight tonight. . . . There's a moisturizer coming to market that could disfigure the faces of vain women everywhere, and only Catwoman can prevent this catastrophe. . . . Not to be catty, but this movie's raison d'etre is to dress the incomparably gorgeous Berry in leather and turn her into a kitten with a whip. . . . But a movie needs more than a few sexual innuendos and throaty purrs to keep us from taking a catnap."
Other "purr-fect" examples come from Zap2It.com, "With Catwoman, Halle Berry finds her purr-fect role"; The Modesto Bee, "Catwoman is purr-fectly mediocre"; the Catholic News Service, "Berry fills the title role purrrfectly."
Similarly, The Daily Telegraph quoted an onlooker at the U.S. premiere who said Berry gave "quite a purrrformance."
Zap2It.com also said that "Halle Berry is the cat's meow these days." Whereas DigitalJournal.com's headline was "Catwoman: Hardly the Cat's Meow." The folks at Catholic News Service agreed: "Still, as far as summer popcorn movies go, Catwoman is hardly the cat's meow."
The PA News noted "Critics Get Their Claws Out for Catwoman." In The Miami Herald (must register to view), it was "Berry Claws Her Way Into Superhero Fold." EURweb.com read " 'CATWOMAN'Barely Scratches the Surface." The Modesto Bee went one step further: "You'd have to scratch long and hard to get anything more significant out of this whisker-thin flick."
Likening the movie to a regurgitated ball of fur was popular. CBS 4 in Denver, Colorado, thought "Catwoman Hacks Furball on Screen." Catholic News Service: "Warner Brothers is left coughing up a $100 million hairball." The Modesto Bee: "Here's Catwoman in a hairball, er, nutshell." The Voice stated "Berry coughs up a hairball." Metromix.com called Catwoman a "vacuous lingerie show posing as feminism . . . the biggest movie hairball this side of Garfield" and Benjamin Bratt "her love interest-cum-scratching post."
But many reviewers almost apologized for their use of "catfight": Monterey County Herald, "Doing the right thing and exposing her former company for its evil deeds requires protracted cat fightsliterallywith Laurel"; EURweb.com, "I must be honest, the idea of Stone and Berry in a . . . uh . . . 'catfight' (damn it, I promised myself I wouldn't go there) seemed like delightful fodder." The New York Times, who called Catwoman "A Not-So-Cuddly Cat Cracks a Mean Whip," commented "[T]he climactic battle between Laurel and Patience is sure to thrill anyone who likes to see a goodforgive me, there's no other wordcatfight," also: "Like Garfield, Catwoman is really a parody of catitude . . . "
The Atlanta Journal Constitution (must register to view) asked, "What's new, pussycat?"
The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Catwoman "[t]he Feline Fatale."
The Sydney Morning Herald reported a "[p]aws for applause. . . . Halle Berry was the coolest cat at the world premiere of Catwoman in Hollywood."
The Catholic News Service also called it "kitty litter" and said, "Even if you had the added advantage of living nine lives, you would be hard-pressed to find a more conspicuous marriage of A-list talent and B-movie schlock than the slick but soon-to-be-forgotten Catwoman."
The East Bay Express's "Meow Mixed" (similar to the Voice's "Meow Nix") remarked, "You'll get pussy galore here."
The North County Times stated that "Catwoman isn't pick of the litter."
The Daily Californian called the character the "cat let out of her cage."
Referring to the movie's many problems (rewrites, recast, etc.), the Voice also asked "With that kind of history, can a film possibly land on its feet?" Judging by these reviews, probably not.
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