Murder of a Cat – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
You know that they had me after “J.K. Simmons” right? Now, I’m not just a bandwagon jumper who suddenly loves Simmons after his Oscar win for Whiplash. I’ve enjoyed him since his early days as Dr. Emil Skoda on Law & Order. Remember? He was the “other” psychiatrist” they used on the show when they wrote out Dr. Olivet. He was great in Oz, but absolutely perfect in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films as J. Jonah Jameson. I’ve probably said all of this before in other reviews involving Simmons, and I’ll probably rehash this on his next film I review because I’ll watch pretty much anything he’s in now, and I’ll likely forget I’ve already said all these things again.
When Clinton (Fran Kranz) awakes to discover that his cat (Mouser) has been killed, his world is torn apart. But when he discovers that Mouser was actually murdered, and apparently leading a double life, this adult child gets out of his mother’s basement to try and solve the case, much to the chagrin of the local sheriff (J.K. Simmons). It turns out that Mouser wasn’t just Clinton’s cat, on those days he had wandered off he was Greta’s (Nikki Reed) and he went by the name Horatio. Was the killer after Mouser? Was he trying to frighten Greta or was it all a plot to unnerve Clinton? Conspiracies abound as Clinton suspects the owner of a local warehouse store (Greg Kinnear) who used to be Greta’s boss. Then he suspects some of Greta’s former co-workers, then he suspects Greta, then he suspects himself….of falling in love with Greta.
I will say that I was surprised how well the plot came together and how the mystery was resolved. Usually I find when you have a humourous murder mystery movie that either the humour or the plot will fail as the writers and directors will focus only on one of the aspects. I didn’t find that the case with Murder of a Cat. The plot wasn’t overly complicated or intense. It didn’t have huge underlying values or extreme hidden meanings. The humour wasn’t simply an add-on and it wasn’t there as a distraction. It was not a gag a minute like some films try to do, but there were quite a few genuine laughs to be had. This may seem odd, but the humour was equal parts light and comically dark, which was something I really enjoyed. Sometimes not over-thinking your script is the best way to create a good movie, and I’d say that the balance achieved in this one helped to make it excellent.
Top marks to the acting talent. Kranz and Reed were very enjoyable as the leads, and of course Simmons shone again in support of them both. If you’re looking for a few good laughs and a decent story to go with it, I’d recommend Murder of a Cat in an instant to you.
Bottom Line: Not only did I enjoy the feature, but I enjoyed all the trailers before the film too! Now if only I could remember what that second one was…