'Cats' Movie Review: Critics Get Their Claws Out For 'Horny,' 'Hideous' Film

When it comes to Cats, critics seem to agree on two things: That the film is bad, and that no one can resist using cat puns to tell you how bad it is.

The Telegraph, for example, says of the movie, "the only realistic way to fix Cats would be to spay it." Slashfilm went for "Cats pukes a hairball on it and rubs its ass all over it." The Irish Times simply told the movie to "shoo."

The Telegraph review is particularly notable, for it seems to be the first time the publication has given a film zero stars. Even notoriously terrible films like Fifty Shades Freed, Justice League and Geostorm managed to get one star out of five.

To understand exactly what it is critics hate about the movie, Prospect Magazinegives a good outline of how the film starts bad and then gets worse.

Caspar Salmon writes: "In the very first scene…we drop alarmingly from the sky, down to a sort of papier-mâché Soho, where humans dressed, painted and CGI'd so as to convey the outward appearance of cats, cavort and sing a song about being jellicles.

"The song lasts for about five or six minutes, crescendoing to a harrowing level of insanity, while never doing any of the following things: setting the scene; introducing a character; being pleasant to look at or listen to.

"The central dilemmas of the film already throb like a wound: 1) what does any of this mean?, and 2) the people, actors, who have been styled and instructed to play the part of cats, are, it is clear at all times, actually humans."

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw resorted to verse to fully convey how much he hated Cats, writing:

"The setting is London, it does look post-nuclear
There aren't any people, so maybe there were
Bomb blasts – or maybe a bio disaster
Causing cat-human mutants with digital fur."

cats review
Judi Dench in "Cats" Universal Pictures

Other critics point out how weirdly sexual the G-rated film is.

Collider writes: "If it wasn't enough to make the cats horny… Hooper also feels the need to make it gross by having them dig through trash and play up their animal instincts. Cats always feels like it's two seconds away from turning into a furry orgy in a dumpster."

The Guardian, meanwhile, asks in a headline: "Is Cats the kinkiest film to earn a U certificate?" U is the U.K. equivalent of a U.S. G rating.

Though the CGI received some praise—CNET, for example, writes: "Their fur is their best feature, beautifully photo-realistic, but the compliments end there"—a lot of critics pointed out the central problem of Cats is that the cast really look like cats.

Metro sums up this criticism with the line: "But the cats... oh those hideous cat-human-hybrid cats. I suspect animators have worked tirelessly—and apparently, to the wire, hence some dodgy editing—to improve them since the trailer fallout. But they're still sickening."

The occasional critic has given a positive review, which saved the movie from the dreaded 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating (though the film is still languishing on a thoroughly rotten 16%).

In a four-star review, none other than the Financial Times said: "I never thought I would say 'There's something for everyone.' But really there is in this film." Though the reviewer did note: "It's quite worryingly erotic."

Cats is in cinemas now.