Catwoman (5/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

This movie starts with Patience (Halle Berry) telling us about the day she died. So thereís no suspense for the first 15 minutes during which Patience meets policeman Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), finds out that her employer, Hedare Beauty, is about to market a product that destroys peopleís skin, and is murdered. Since thatís the first thing we learn, as sheís trying to get away there is zero suspense because we know that sheís not going to elude her pursuers. Worse, weíre told at the outset that Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone) is the bad gal, robbing the story of much-needed mystery.

The movie picks up after a cat resurrects Patience and she discovers her powers, links up with Lone, and takes on the bad guys and gals to keep Hedare Beauty from marketing its harmful product. Halle Berry is very good metamorphing from woman to cat superhero. Unfortunately, Benjamin Bratt is less than compelling as her love interest. At least I didnít see anything different than I saw when he was Lennyís partner on Law & Order, and what I saw there was a good-looking, likeable, phlegmatic guy who was always pretty much the same. But Benjamin apparently provides eye candy for women, so maybe heís got some secret sex appeal that only women see. Iíve always been able to understand how women could be attracted to movie stars like Robert Redford and Tyrone Power. But I donít think of Bratt in their terms. However, you do have to take into consideration the fact that Iím not a woman.

Sharon Stone gives a glimpse of what we might have seen had Marilyn Monroe had her way and been cast in The Brothers Karamazov (1958). Thereís no getting around the fact that the woman is beautiful and has a lot of sex appeal. But her performance robs Laurel of the menace thatís essential to make the ultimate confrontation with Catwoman involving.

The story isnít bad, but the script (for which three people get credit, John Brancato & Michael Ferris and John Rogers, always a bad sign) is occasionally bromidic. For example, the girl friend of the bad guy, George Hedare (Lambert Wilson), says, ďI think this is a waste of time.Ē George responds, ďDonít. A condition of our relationship is that you donít think.Ē Another scene telegraphs itself with such little subtlety that itís hard to believe that everyone wonít see it coming.

Director Pitof missed an opportunity in the climactic battle between Laurel and Catwoman, when he had two of the sexiest women in Hollywood fighting each other. Yet thereís not even a smidgen of sensuality.

Barre exhibits some stylistic poses as Catwoman that are attractive. But they overdid her jumping, which basically allowed her to fly. The movie would have been more enjoyable for me if she just had a catís ability to jump, maybe magnified a little. But she jumps so high sheís really flying, not jumping.

Despite all that, at 101 minutes, it has more entertaining moments than not.

July 21, 2004

The End