A review of “Catwoman” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: PG-13 for action violence and sensuality

Run Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

 

 

What’s not to love about a gal with a whip, stilettos, and sharp rhinestone claws? Guilty pleasure be thy name!  

Halle Berry pulls out the stops with a delicious feline turn as DC Comics heroine Catwoman, a docile yet aggressive creature who represents the duality in all women.  Yeah, baby.

By day Berry is ad agency slave Patience Phillips, a mild-mannered drone who can’t say boo to her own shadow.  While delivering a set of sketches to her biggest client, a cosmetics company with a penchant for toxic beauty secrets, Patience meets with a nasty fate and is “reborn” as the mistress of graceful four-legged creatures, thanks to a clever Egyptian short-hair named Midnight.

While acquainting herself with her sinuous side, Patience is learning to love local detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt).  Lone pulls double-duty as Patience’s main man and her arch-enemy, investigating the mysterious catlike beast who may be responsible for a series of murders at the cosmetics plant.  

Newsflash:  Berry does skintight leather proud.  Not to mention nailing the femme fatale with sexy aplomb.  Catwoman has a clean and clutterless feel, unencumbered by the traditional bells and whistles of comic-to-film adaptations.

No, it’s not faithful to Bob Kane’s original comic creation and yes, it’s off-the-charts cheese (think Berry and the ubiquitous Sharon Stone in the mother of bitchy catfights), but it is blessed with snappy one-liners, a sizzling romantic chemistry, and Stone doing high camp as sinister make-up queen Laurel Hedare.

Look is pure MTV-glow, awash in shimmering color and blemish-free filters.  Director Pitof (he of the hip single-moniker) quick-cuts his way around the confusion, thereby sidestepping a narrative hairball. Plot is kept on the lowdown, leaving room to ponder how many extra workouts it will take to squeeze into that skimpy cat costume by Halloween.