Puss in Boots (review)
I’m pretty sure that the reason Antonio Banderas was put on this planet was to make Puss in Boots speak. When that sonorous, sexy voice came out of that small furry animated ginger body for the first time in Shrek 2 (overall one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen), it was more than just the actor sending up his swashbuckling Zorro image — it was the birth of something unexpectedly ingenious. Maybe even one of the greatest jokes of all cinema: this action hero really does have a soft, cuddly side, and he is not afraid to show it. Gloriously, given his own movie, he just gets even more hugely entertaining. This is exactly as clever an origin story as you’d expect from the Shrek universe, turning familiar fairy tales upside down and mixing in all manner of sly pop-culture throwbacks. This is a fantasy heist flick that recalls both Batman Returns — how Puss meets his nemesis Kitty Softpaws (the voice of Salma Hayek: Grown Ups) echoes Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer’s masked-avenger meet-cute — and classic Errol Flynn adventures, melding modern movies with old favorites with really old folktales in ways that are hilariously and endlessly inventive. Can Puss, Kitty, and Humpty Dumpty (the voice of Zach Galifianakis: The Hangover Part II) — his former best friend, her current business partner — steal the magic beans from the murderous outlaws Jack (the voice of Billy Bob Thornton: Eagle Eye) and Jill (the voice of Amy Sedaris: Jennifer’s Body) and make it to the castle in the clouds where the goose lays the golden eggs? The biological impossibility of Humpty becomes its own joke: this egg doesn’t just have a face, he’s two-faced. When telling the tale of his broken relationship with Humpty, Banderas (The Skin I Live In) intones “The egg betrayed me” with perfect deadpan. As he does every delicious, twisted line. This is the rare cartoon flick that is just as perfect for grownups as it is for kids: the adventure is rollicking, the situations are ridiculous, the innuendo is smart and subtle, and the animation is gorgeous. Viva el gato!