Nine Lives

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Nine Lives Movie Poster Image
Forgettable comedy has more drinking than you'd expect.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 28 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 36 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids might learn a little about the myths surrounding cats -- their nine lives, etc.

Positive Messages

The central message is that dads should spend time with their kids and tell them they're proud of them. Also promotes a healthy work-life balance and encourages close relationships between parents and their children.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lara is a wonderful mom and a patient wife. David stands up for what his father's wishes would be -- and, of course, in the end Tom redeems himself for his previously greedy and selfish behavior.

Violence & Scariness

Slapstick physical comedy featuring the cat, which commits some death-defying stunts and nearly always lands on its paws. A couple of accidents leave two characters hospitalized. In one scene, it seems like a man is going to jump off a building to commit suicide, but he's actually base-jumping with a parachute.

Sexy Stuff

A married couple kisses, and the cat makes a suggestive comment about whether his wife is going to "do it" with a man she's meeting, but it turns out to be innocent. Brief glimpses of bras and a shirtless teen.

Language

"Jesus" (as an exclamation), "damn," "hell," "crap."

Consumerism

Brands/products seen include Apple iMac, MacBook, Samsung, and Lexus.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The cat manages to pry open a bottle of Scotch and tip it into an ashtray so he can drink it; the next morning, the cat is drunk. The ex-wife drinks martinis and gets drunk at a girl's birthday party and dinner. Social drinking by adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nine Lives is a body-switching, talking-animal comedy in which a billionaire businessman's mind/personality is implanted in a cat while his body is in a coma. Starring Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner, the comedy features predictable kitty-litter jokes, a suggestive comment that will likely go over kids' head, and a surprising amount of drinking for a kid-targeted movie. The cat/dad drinks Scotch (and gets drunk), and a woman drinks too much at a child's birthday party. There's also a lot of slapstick comedy, mostly involving the cat, in the style of lolcat videos/stunts. In one scene, it appears like a character is about to commit suicide. It's not a great movie, but at least the the messages promote work-life balance and closer relationships between a workaholic and his kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBria R. August 5, 2016

Terrible, Upsetting

My 8 year-old son was so excited to see this movie. He loves cats and thought the preview looked funny. He left the theater in tears. In addition to a flimsy,... Continue reading
Parent Written byTiff C. August 10, 2016

Seriously... What are they thinking?

I too signed up tonight to write this review. Like many others on here, I was under the assumption that this would be a light hearted cheesy movie. Boy was I in... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 13, 2016

DON'T BELIEVE THE BAD REVIEWS!

Damn and hell are about as bad as it gets in language. Humans and cats get drunk. I was in tears because a man looked like he was committing suicide. People say... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLucy_l August 27, 2016

Sister Left in Tears

So, Nine Lives seemed like an innocent, fun movie to see with my family (I recommended it). My sister (7) and I both love cats very much, and have one of our o... Continue reading

What's the story?

NINE LIVES stars multiple award winner Kevin Spacey as Tom Brand, a wealthy real estate mogul about to complete the highest skyscraper in North America. But all he does is work, and his (second) wife, Lara (Jennifer Garner), makes it clear that he must buy his own impressive present for their daughter Rebecca's (Malina Weissman) 11th birthday. After Tom visits a mysterious pet store owned by Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken) to acquire a cat (Mr. Fuzzypants) as his gift, he ends up in a serious accident that leads to him being trapped in the cat's body. Meanwhile, Tom's own comatose body is hospitalized. Now, as his daughter's new cat, Tom/Mr. Fuzzypants must attempt to keep his business partner from selling their company; help his oldest son, David (Robbie Amell), take his rightful place in the organization; and figure out a way to mend what's broken in his family.

Is it any good?

A predictable slog disguised as a family-friendly talking-animal movie, this Barry Sonnenfeld film wastes its award-winning cast for a bunch of kitty litter jokes. Nine Lives is the kind of kid-targeted comedy that makes audiences wonder what the stars wanted to buy with their salary -- or who they owed a favor. The fundamental flaw is that, unlike most live-action movies featuring animals that talk amongst themselves, in this one, only the audience and Walken's character can hear Mr. Fuzzypants speak as Spacey. And the dad-as-kitty monologues and one liners aren't at all funny or original (although kids might laugh at every third or fourth cat slapstick sequence).

Garner -- who rose to fame as a powerful covert agent/assassin on Alias -- once again plays a mom dealing with family issues, which is disappointing; she can do a lot more than boring "mom" roles. Cheryl Hines appears as Tom's always-ready-for-a-cocktail ex-wife, Madison, who is (implausibly) good friends with Lara. Amell's presence as Tom's oldest son and employee underscores what a jerk Tom is to his kids, but that's basically the entire premise of this yawn-worthy story: Workaholic dad learns to make time for his kids after spending time with a cat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lessons that Nine Lives has Tom learn as Mr. Fuzzypants. What are they? Do they feel relevant to your life? Why is the idea of balance so important these days?

  • What role does alcohol play in the movie? Do you think it's appropriate for a kids' film? Kids: Did did you notice the drinking?

  • Why do you think talking-animal movies are so popular? Do you like it when these movies include more than one talking animal? Why or why not?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love animals and comedy

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