Whiskers (1997)

Whiskers VHS

Les Productions La Fête Inc.
 Michael Caloz, Brent Carver, Steve Adams
Also Starring: Namy, Minou, Princesse, Cléo
Directed by: Jim Kaufman

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: A TV movie made for the Showtime Cable Network, Whiskers is the story of a reclusive boy named Jed Martin (Michael Caloz).  His parents (Steve Adams & Laurel Paetz) are concerned that he spends too much time with his cat, Whiskers, as opposed to making human friends.  Fearing that his parents plan to get rid of Whiskers, Jed asks for help from the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet who grants his wish . . . by turning Whiskers into a human being (Brent Carver).

Cinema Cat: At the beginning and end of the movie Whiskers is a beautiful tabby cat and a very good actor as well!  Played by a cat named Namy who shows a range of tolerance, including riding in a bicycle basket.

Whiskers cat

All of the cats in this movie are beautiful and talented (provided by Canada’s Pro-Film Animal Inc.), but the overall plot is muddled and downright implausible (his parents don’t notice this strange man living in their son’s room or the fact the cat isn’t around and Jed is saying nothing about it?)  Plus there are some mixed messages which makes it difficult to like the film, despite some sweet sentiments and good intentions.  Among these are references to cat vivisection (completely unnecessary), shelters manned by angry and insane people and the depiction of homeless alley cats as being clean, cool and healthy.  Also the depiction of Whiskers in human form isn’t too convincing and at times insulting (one would hope any cat finding themselves in a similar situation would be able to handle it better and without being so . . . well, silly.)

Cat Cattle Call:  There are a lot of really beautiful cats in this film, which is its true redeeming factor.  The cats in the alley scene are all perfectly groomed (which makes it less believable that they could be alley cats.)  The true stand-out supporting cat is Hairball (played by Minou), Whiskers’ brother who is living in the lap of luxury.  He shows incredible restraint around the actor playing Whiskers as a human (I guess even he found him annoying, as he takes some on-screen swipes at his co-star!)

Whiskers cat in limo

Finally there are the cats at the no-kill shelter in the end, including Whiskers’ mom (played by Cléo) and sister (played by Princesse.)

Final Mewsings: People should wish to be cats, not their cats to become human.

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