The bad buzz surrounding “Catwoman” began with the
first images of the character’s horrendously un-feline new
catsuit and continued with rumors about casting difficulties on the
film’s set. It should come as no great surprise to comics
fans, film buffs or anyone with a modicum of taste that
“Catwoman” is an unexciting and pathetic excuse for a
superhero flick, let alone anything resembling cinematic art.
“Catwoman” tells the story of Patience Philips
(Halle Berry, “X-2”), a supposedly ugly, clumsy
advertising designer at a cosmetics company, which is set to
release a revolutionary beauty cream that will reverse aging.
Philips learns that the cream leaves severe scars when usage stops.
To cover up the discovery, company head Laurel Hedare (Sharon
Stone, “Cold Creek Manor”) has Philips murdered. A
mysterious Egyptian cat inexplicably brings Patience back to life,
and her transformation into Catwoman begins.
Often, a super-character’s discovery of and
experimentation with their newfound powers serves as a comical, fun
sequence in the midst of suspense and drama, but single-named
director Pitof (“The Messenger”) lacks any subtlety:
Audiences are subjected to scenes of Berry hoarding cans of tuna in
her bed, gulping down sushi and, worst of all, rubbing catnip all
over her face.
The story continues down a dull path as Berry plots revenge
against the company and Hedare. The inevitable catfights feature
too many cuts from the action, which lose audience interest and
probably serve to cover up the actress’s lack of fighting
skills. The climactic fight isn’t even the most action-filled
sequence of the movie. Instead, that honor goes to a pathetic
“terror” sequence on a stalled Ferris wheel.
But the greatest letdown of Catwoman is Oscar winner Halle
Berry’s lukewarm performance. Wearing her catsuit, she looks
as gorgeous as ever, but falls short on panache. Stone seems much
better suited for the catty role, overshadowing the lead with a
bitchy, cutthroat attitude. Berry is better suited to playing the
demure Storm in the “X-Men” franchise.
Another yawn-inducing aspect of “Catwoman” ’s
plot is her tame relationship with Detective Tom Lone (Benjamin
Bratt, “Traffic”); the hottest action shown between the
two occurs in a basketball game at an elementary school.
“Catwoman” sets a new low for the comics-to-film
genre. Even those hoping for hot chicks mindless violence will
leave theaters hoping that this franchise only has one life.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.