VOD film review: Tom and Jerry the Movie
Tom and Jerry6
Influencers and weddings4
Ivan Radford | On 25, Mar 2021
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Rob Delaney, Colin Jost
Where to watch Tom and Jerry (2021) online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store / CHILI
Sit a child in front of a Tom and Jerry cartoon and they’ll immediately be caught up in the slapstick conflict, from the Rube Goldberg mousetraps to the ruthless carnage that follows. Like Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner, the duo’s timeless charm lies in the almost worryingly cruel back-and-forth between them, an anti-chemistry that can’t help but make people of all ages giggle. Sit a child in front of the new Tom and Jerry film and they may well be confused – because despite their names being in the title, the movie isn’t really about them at all.
The film follows Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz), who blags a job as the events manager at a fancy New York hotel by stealing someone’s CV – a list of experience and occupations that instantly wows the hotel’s manager (Rob Delaney) but raises suspicion from her superior, Terence (Michael Peña). With influencer stars Ben (Colin Jost) and Preeta (Pallavi Sharda) about to hold an extravagant, expensive wedding at the hotel, the pressure’s on Kayla to bluff her way through the day.
It’s the perfect time, then, for Tom and Jerry to turn up, both running amok through the building – the former hired by the hotel, at Kayla’s behest, to track down the latter and avoid any rodenty scandals. While she tries to convince the pair to get on peacefully, things go increasingly awry. That means diddly squat to anyone in the audience, though, who have no real reason to be invested in the relationship between Preeta and Ben – a convincingly dysfunctional couple but with no real depth on the page.
When Tom and Jerry get the chance to take centre-stage, there’s some fun to be had – director Tim Story (Fantastic Four – not that one) crafts an elaborate live-action trap and follows it through with visible glee, while the decision to make all the animals animated and the humans live-action is pulled off quite well, complete with traditional tornadoes erupting when skirmishes get out of hand. The invention and wit isn’t on a par with Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but the neither Tom nor Jerry talks at any point, which keeps them faithful to the characters who charmed viewers years ago.
But the script’s attempts to balance old-school feuding with modern pop-culture references doesn’t work, from drones, electronic skateboards and adults joking about social media to a bizarre opening sequence that sees some cartoon pigeons perform 1990s classic Can I Kick It?, which has nothing to do with anything that follows. Delaney and Peña enjoy bouncing off each other and Moretz throws herself into a story about the challenges of being a young person in a gig economy, but by relegating the real stars to supporting sidekicks, Tom and Jerry ends up in an awkward limbo, one that’s not nostalgic enough to delight grown-ups and not distinct enough to make new fans of its animal icons.
Tom & Jerry: The Movie is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, as part of an £11.99 NOW Cinema Membership subscription. For the latest Sky TV packages and prices, click the button below.