Awfully Good: Catwoman

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

In preparation for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, Awfully Good will be featuring a different Batman-related movie each week until the film’s release. Perhaps a little Schumacher will help you appreciate Christopher Nolan that much more.

Catwoman (2004)

Director: Pitof
Stars: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt

An Oscar-winner ruins her once-promising career by choosing the worst possible film in the history of…oh wait.

Pitof. F*cking Pitof. There are countless things wrong with CATWOMAN on a molecular level, but I’m tempted to put the blame solely on the director because his name sounds like it’s French for “Punch me, I’m douchey.” It’s also abundantly clear that only a “filmmaker” that comes from the visual effects department could be responsible for pseudo-artistic garbage like this instead of, I don’t know, a movie that people would actually want to watch other than at gunpoint.

Noooo! Skrillex is horrible no matter what version you listen to!

The writers clearly don’t understand the difference between Catwoman and a woman turning in to an actual cat. I doubt any of them have even seen BATMAN RETURNS, let alone read a comic book featuring the character. Like a feline companion to Cronenberg’s THE FLY, half of CATWOMAN is just Halle Berry acting like a giant cat, not in a way that serves the script or moves the character’s story forward, but just for cheap laughs. “Look, Harold, that cloudy girl from X-MEN is hissing at dogs and playing with catnip! LOL!” On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing the film wastes times with this since the actual plot involves the title character trying to stop an evil makeup company that’s creating face (melting) cream. I’m not dumbing it down. It’s already done that for itself.

“Hey! Actor unemployed, rest of your life!”

So if CATWOMAN bears no resemblance to her comic counterpart (except for sort of being a thief for 30 seconds), what is she? An Egyptian goddess…cat…thingy! Just like with Tim Burton’s version, Patience Phillips is killed by her employer for finding out too much. However, unlike Pfeiffer’s psychological transformation, a magical ancient cat breathes on Halle Berry and she wakes up with super powers. And not just the feline ones you’d expect like night vision, super agility and the ability to land on her feet, but completely random talents like knowing eight forms of kung fu, having Harlem Globetrotter-like basketball skills and making any motorcycle capable of achieving supersonic speed. (Her costume is also incredible, but only because it manages to make Halle Berry wearing minimal torn clothing look stupid and not sexy.) Soon she meets the world’s weirdest cat lady and discovers her true feline heritage. She also Googles “cats” and “women.”

Halle would later regret living her life according to Dennis Rodman’s autobiography.

As much as I like (to look at) Halle Berry, she’s equally at fault here. In case you don’t remember, this wasn’t that long after the actress won an Academy Award for MONSTER’S BALL. (Coincidentally, this movie sucks monstrous amounts of balls.) If she was trying to branch out as an action star like the Nicolas Cage post-Oscar triple punch of THE ROCK, FACE OFF and CON AIR, she failed. The script obviously does her no favors, but Berry delivers a shockingly bad performance as Patience Phillips, making bad dialogue sound even worse. (Though I do give her credit for showing up to the Razzies to accept her award for Worst Actress.) Same goes for Sharon Stone as the barely-there villain, Benjamin Bratt as the love interest (their romance consists of street ball and Ferris wheels), and comedic “relief” by Lois Griffin aka Alex Borstein as one of Berry’s two annoying coworkers. Everyone should be embarrassed.

“I’ll spread my legs if you promise to like me again!”

I’d heard the CGI in CATWOMAN was bad, but holy hell! To call it video game cut scenes does a disservice to the hard work that goes in to video games. You know those brief moments in movies like THE MATRIX RELOADED and DAREDEVIL where the computer animated stuntman was glaringly obvious? There are entire extended sequences like that here in brightly lit scenes, as if nobody involved with this film had any shame at all. (It also doesn’t help that it’s painfully obvious Halle Berry’s stunt double was a dude.) They even use CGI for things that are completely unnecessary, like a simple meowing cat. I can just picture the poor animator telling Pitof, “But sir, it’d be easier and cheaper to just shoot a real—“ “F*ck it, I’m Pitof. Make that seagull out of pixels!”

Extra Tidbit: Halle Berry’s CGI stuntwoman was played by Steve Urkel.

However, there’s one thing that really makes me mad about this movie. Weird Cat Lady is telling Berry how she comes from a long line of ancient Egyptian Catwomen and then Pitof has the audacity to include a blatant photo of Michelle Pfeiffer in an attempt to shoehorn their terrible mythology on to that character. That’s how bad CATWOMAN is: it actively works to take other better movies down with it.

This still photo of Michelle Pfeiffer gives the best performance in the entire movie.

There are plenty of eye-rolling cat puns here, but the real standout is the guy who calls Benjamin Bratt “Man Sandwich.” Someone got paid to write that.

1) A good look at Catwoman’s horrible costume, some of the terrible CGI fights, and the worst basketball scene since TEEN WOLF.

2) Halle Berry acts just like a cat, LOL! (Bonus: Magical cat breath!)

Halle Berry shows a lot of skin but comes off more silly than sexy.

Be thankful for Anne Hathaway! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There’s a cat-related pun or wordplay
  • Halle Berry exhibits catlike behavior
  • The camera zooms in to a building
  • The color scheme randomly changes
  • Music is played that is worse than Enya

Double shot if:

  • You are subjected to the greatest handwriting analyst of all time

Next week…the naughtier side of The Dark Knight!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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