Most of us probably rolled our eyes in disgust when we heard the news the cat from the Shrek movies was getting his own movie. We probably snickered through the trailers or joked at the posters and, up until the lights when down in the theater, that was my mindset. I was not looking forward to Puss in Boots. When the lights came up, though, the cat got me.

Puss in Boots is way funnier and more exciting than it has any right to be. The characters are dynamic, the adventure sprawling and the humor is, at times, incredibly adult. It’ll never give you goosebumps like How to Train Your Dragon or make you howl like the first Shrek, but there is a lot to like despite some minor flaws.

From the film’s opening moments, it’s obvious director Chris Miller (Shrek the Third) knows exactly what he has on his hands. The Shrek series has run its course and this is the result: a potential character goldmine, ripe with sequel possibilities. Puss in Boots begins with the Puss character we’re familiar with – nimble, cunning, voiced with bravado by Antonio Banderas – and gives us a sweeping set up before cycling back to his origins. That origin centers largely on Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who befriends Puss at their orphanage and grows up his best friend. A chain of events occurs that sends them on separate paths and through the course of the movie, their friendship undergoes some interesting and surprising ebbs and flows. That relationship is the soul of the movie and, ultimately, the reason why it works.

The reason why Puss in Boots is not a total home run is the adventure surrounding it, which sees Puss, Humpty and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) attempting to go up Jack’s Beanstalk to steal some golden eggs. Their adventure to rob an innocent fairy tale never feel morally right and that, unfortunately, offsets everything going on around it. Plus, nearly every single plot point and character twist is telegraphed from a mile away. There’s nothing innovative about Puss in Boots, it’s just lucky to have enough chemistry and charisma to make you not care.

In the end, Puss in Boots is pleasant and fun with more than enough to make kids and adults happy. It’s a step below the quality we know DreamWorks is capable of on its best day but it turned a non-believer like myself into someone who would gladly welcome a sequel.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10.

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About the Author

Germain graduated NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Cinema Studies program in 2002 and won back to back First Place awards for film criticism from the New York State Associated Press in 2006 and 2007.

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