There's no getting around it – the reviews for the new movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats are horrible.
After its premiere in Los Angeles earlier this week – at which Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper admitted he'd only finished the film the day before – fears over that first bizarre trailer have now been truly realised.
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Despite the wealth of eye-popping talent involved (James Corden, Dame Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Sir Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and Royal Ballet principle Francesca Hayward), it appears things haven't gelled for the Jellicles.
Writes The Daily Telegraph: “Once seen, the only realistic way to fix Cats would be to spay it, or simply pretend it never happened.
“Because it’s an all-time disaster – a rare and star-spangled calamity which will leave jaws littered across floors and agents unemployed... Finding any high point in Cats, though, takes some serious scratching.”
Variety dubs it 'one of those once-in-a-blue-moon embarrassments that mars the resumes of great actors'.
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“Sadly, this uneven eyesore turns out to be every bit the Jellicle catastrophe the haters anticipated, a half-digested hairball of a movie,” it goes on.
The Guardian has called it a 'dreadful furball of woe'.
Offering just one-star, Peter Bradshaw penned his review entirely in rhyme (with varying degrees of success), adding: “The twitching of ears on their heads is distracting, as they gaze at the greenscreen and sashay and crawl. It’s weird to behold them all gurning and acting, and why do so many resemble Darth Maul?”
Adds The Playlist: “Once Tom Hooper's 110 minutes of Cats are over, theater is dead. One lucky Jellicle cat is dead. And we unchosen ones are left, tragically, to continue living.”
In a mystified two-starrer, Empire reckons: “The intended humour mostly falls flat (lame jokes like "cat got your tongue" are neither funny nor logical), but there's something in the garish, glorious failure of it that can absolutely be enjoyed. It is unbelievable that it even exists.”
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The Boston Globe's Ty Burr merely notes: “Oh God, my eyes.”
However, many critics note that bad or mediocre reviews likely won't stop this movie finding its audience.
“Cats may flop but it will be found by a likeminded audience, maybe the same one that rescued The Greatest Showman. Don't be the sourpuss to tell these people they're wrong,” writes Time Out.
Meanwhile, The Financial Times is among its unlikely champions, decreeing that the movie ‘lands on its feet’.
“I never thought I would say 'There's something for everyone.' But really there is in this film,” writes Nigel Andrews.
The Daily Mail goes on: “I'm a dog man myself. But Hooper has made a surprisingly good fist of bringing it to life.”
Cats is out tomorrow across the UK.