Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Cats': Film deserves 'special place in movie hell'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats," which was once the longest running show in Broadway history, hits theaters this weekend.

There are big names and high hopes, but I honestly cannot remember reviews for a major motion picture that were as bad or as brutal as the comments for "Cats."

It's being called a, "Catastrophe," and worse. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a dismal 20% out of a 100, and I think that's being generous.

It's been said that "Time spent with cats is never wasted," but this new movie proves an unfortunate exception to that rule -- and rarely has so much talent been squandered so completely.

James Corden and Rebel Wilson are two of our funniest performers, and add a brilliant newcomer named Francesca Hayward plus beloved veteran Judi Dench, and the result should be magical. But it isn't, despite the best efforts of Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson, who sings "Memory," the show's signature song.

"Cats" remains a one hit wonder: a long musical with just this one truly memorable tune, and it comes deep in a deadly dull first hour that reminded me the original Broadway show has almost no plot.

The slender story involves reincarnation, the idea that "the most deserving cat will be reborn into another life so they can be who they've always dreamt of being."

Idris Elba's Macavity wants to short circuit the process, which is where Taylor Swift's Bombalurina comes in.

Much has been made of the superstar's very brief appearance, but she did co-write a new song for Howard to sing.
But alas, "Beautiful Ghosts" is not beautiful enough to save this one.

There should be a special place in movie hell for a musical like this one, because rarely -- if ever -- have so many big stars at the peak of their careers been used with such cat-aclysmic results.

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