I recall the one and only time I saw Cats the musical, and not fondly. In seventh grade I won a contest to watch Cats for free and then had the opportunity to write a review for the local paper. I remember sitting down in feverish anticipation at what I was about to see. What transpired was several hours of excruciating visual torture. I loathed Cats to my core. Having said that, the idea that all art is subjective, is an entertainment hill I will die on, so I can appreciate that millions of people revere Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical. I’m just not one of them.
This past Friday audiences finally had the opportunity to see director Tom Hooper‘s film on the big screen. The $100 million nightmare fueled spectacle was a colossal flop both critically and commercially. CATS scratched up less than $7 million opening weekend and the film currently holds an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Although JoBlo’s own Chris Bumbray seemed to “enjoy” it.) I even read one critic opine, “Is it possible for a director to make a movie so bad they take back his Oscar?” (Tom Hooper won Best Director for 2010’s THE KING’S SPEECH.) Yikes.
Well one person who thinks critics wouldn’t know art if it came up and licked them on the head is musician/actor Jason Derulo. Derulo stars as Rum Tum Tugger, a difficult and rebellious cat in the film. In a recent interview Derulo was asked about the negative critical response to the film and his response was not exactly a friendly, warm saucer of milk:
“Reviews don’t matter, man. At the end of the day people are gonna see it and it’s gonna be a deportation to another dimension, an incredible, brave piece of art. I’m just excited for the people to actually get to see it. Reviewers what the hell do they know? Have they made a film?”
While CATS may in fact be a “deportation to another dimension” most people seem to think that dimension is akin to the one from EVENT HORIZON. I understand what Derulo is saying here and to a certain degree I agree. Film critics and vegetable scores shouldn’t be your own personal determination for seeing a film. At the end of the day, all movie reviews are just opinions anyway. However, Derulo’s comments are also somewhat reductive and imply that critics are wannabes who can’t make their own movies. To me that just sounds like sour grapes about a film that isn’t particularly good.
So what do you guys think of Derulo’s statements? Do you agree? Have you seen CATS or are you planning to? Sound off in the comments below!