Director Vincent Bal’s Dutch family classic is finally making its way stateside. That’s the good news, I suppose. The bad news: Instead of being treated to a subtitled version, there is a terribly dubbed English version in its place.
Audio difficulties aside, the very heart of the story ultimately manages to shine through. Adapted from a children’s novel entitled “Minoes,” the film version is very much childlike in its inception. The titular character is actually a cat posing as a woman. She meets a struggling journalist named Tibbe who takes her in as a secretary, when, in reality, she doubles as a source of newsworthy information for him. The pair are intrinsically linked via their childlike whimsy and overall naïveté when dealing with life.
The plot is driven by Miss Minoes’ struggle to act human instead of reverting back to her catlike ways. Her various misunderstandings with Tibbe and the townspeople manage to be the main source of comedic relief. Due to its irreverent, cornball humor, “Miss Minoes” is definitely geared toward children more so than adults. Outside of this very narrow demographic, the movie is simply not suited for dog lovers or anybody over the age of 12. Granted, the shot composition and overall cinematography is above par for a family film; too bad the plot couldn’t translate as well.
The mark of any solid family film is its ability to appeal to viewers of all ages. Unfortunately, “Miss Minoes” is too elementary for its own good. The overall concept is better suited for a children’s television show, seeing as there’s not enough material to warrant a 90-minute adventure. It’s not so much a cohesive unit as it is a series of capers strung together involving the feline Miss Minoes getting in and out of precarious situations with help from her cat friends.
Eventually, toward the final half of the film, a villain is smoked out in the form of Mr. Ellemeet, a wealthy man whose chemical company is responsible for turning Miss Minoes into a human to begin with. Together with Tibbe and the Cat Press Service, Miss Minoes manages to thwart the small-town crook and expose him for the cat-hating meanie that he is.
All in all, I suppose I’m too big of a grinch to extract any amount of enjoyment out of this, but for what it’s worth, it’s a solid family flick for fans of whimsical, good vibes and talking cats.