Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots is a paw show
Puss In Boots (U)
Verdict: Far from purrfect
This is a 3D spin-off of the Shrek films and has as its hero that legendary swordsman Puss in Boots, seductively voiced by Antonio Banderas.
It is also an origins story, explaining who the ferocious feline was, pre-Shrek.
Impeded and aided by romantic interest Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek, phoning in her performance) and a bad egg, in the form of his childhood friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifiniakis, underpowered), Puss goes on a quest to steal magic beans from a pair of thugs called Jack and Jill (a wasted Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris).
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Let”s dance: Puss and Kitty, voiced by Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek) in the DreamWorks Animation Puss In Boots
With these beans, Puss hopes to grow a magic beanstalk, climb up it and steal the legendary goose that lays the golden eggs.
But up in the clouds, he encounters not the giant from Jack And The Beanstalk but something even more terrifying: Mother Goose.
Though Puss was an entertaining subsidiary character in Shrek 2, he fails to convince as a leading character.
He’s vocally monotonous, and lacks the self-loathing complexity of Shrek and the naive charm of Donkey.
Too many of the jokes depend on adult humour about his sexual prowess.
And I’m unconvinced that gags about jail-rape and Fight Club have any place in a children’s film.
Australian premiere: Antonio Banderas (left), Salma Hayek and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg pose with Puss in Sydney
The pace is crippled by inordinately lengthy exposition and repetitive use of flashbacks.
Only the eye-popping action sequences are fun, especially the climb up the beanstalk and a chase along dangerous cliffs.
Puss In Boots is blessedly less dependent on insider showbiz jokes than Shrek 3 and 4 and marks a return to the basics of the series — an irreverent take on fairy stories.
However, the script is nowhere near the quality of the first two Shrek films, seriously lacking in wit and comic punchlines.
You could, if you were given to lame puns, describe it as paw.