Kevin Spacey is a Richard Branson-esque corporate overlord who, on the cusp of a major event in his business, is suddenly transported into the mind of a cat. With the help of a cat whisperer (Christopher Walken), he has to reconnect with his daughter and wife (Jennifer Garner).
Watching Nine Lives really is an educational, transformational experience. There is no other film like it released this year that will, truly, change your very essence. You'll walk out of the cinema and be forever changed by seeing it. Why? Because it will be given you a renewed sense of purpose in your life. The overriding thing to take away from Nine Lives is that it's a waste. A waste of time for you watching it and a waste of time for everyone involved. More than anything, it speaks to the fact that devoting yourself to a fruitless task - whether it's watching Nine Lives or being involved in the creation of Nine Lives - is just that. Fruitless.
There is nothing redeeming about Nine Lives whatsoever. Really. The story is simple. Kevin Spacey is a Richard Branson-esque corporate guy who's about to open the tallest building in North America. He's married to Jennifer Garner, his ex-wife is Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines and his son, Robbie Amell, and his daughter, Malina Weissman, are essentially estranged from their father. Meanwhile, at his company, his second-in-command, Mark Consuelos, is trying to oust him from the company by turning it public. On his daughter's birthday, Spacey sets out to buy his daughter a cat - something she's been hassling him for several birthdays - and meets Academy Award winner Christopher Walken. After purchasing the cat, Kevin Spacey falls off said tallest building and goes into a coma whilst his consciousness goes into the cat. Thus begins the film.
The most likely reason for Nine Lives' production is that it was some sort of financial tax-dodge ala The Producers. In a summer that's replete with sequels, legacy sequels, remakes, there is no way that any studio - in their right mind - would greenlight a film like this unless there was some sort of nefarious scheme underneath it all. The film received co-financing from a Chinese production house called Fundamental Films and EuropaCorp, who were recently ordered to pay $500,000 in damages to John Carpenter over a plagiarism lawsuit. The film had a production budget of $30,000,000 and a large portion of that must have gone on salaries because it sure didn't go into the CGI. Yes, there are CGI cats in this film. Allow that to sink in for a moment. CGI cats.
This really is a bizarre choice for Kevin Spacey. The most likely reason he was asked was because Kevin James, Dane Cook and Adam Sandler were all in a car together that was going through a tunnel when the call went out for casting. As to why he accepted, however, will be a continuing mystery that will only be solved twenty years hence in a Making A Murderer-style documentary.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner continues to have The Worst Year, Career-Wise as she already starred in Mother's Day and Christian drama Miracles From Heaven. Christopher Walken's 73 and is looking more frail with each passing year. The kids, well, they're kid actors. They've rest of their life ahead of them. Barry Sonnenfeld, however, has to account for this. Sure, he made porn films back at the beginning of his career, but this? If he had any dignity, he'd go back to the porn industry than continue on with this crap. This is the guy that did The Addams Family with Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia. He's capable of doing a good film. Why is he doing... this? There has to be a rational explanation for this. It can't just be money, surely? Is he being blackmailed?
Everything about Nine Lives is terrible. The CGI is cheap, the jokes are non-existent, the script is terrible and the performances are awful and hackneyed. It's almost like everyone knew that this was a one-take job. First take, boom. Done. Next. Everyone is phoning it in. Even the cats are phoning it in.
If you go to see Nine Lives, you'll come away with the knowledge that you've truly, honestly wasted 87 minutes of your life. You will never, ever get that time back. There is nothing to take away from this film. You can't even enjoy the terribleness of it because it's just so bland and uneventful that it's like watching paint dry. It will, however, make you refocus your life. You'll never want to waste another moment of it because watching Nine Lives is such a terrible use of your time, literally anything else is better than sitting through it. You'll take up yoga, read a book, call that friend of yours you lost contact with, watch a better film. Anything. This film will inspire you to do anything other than watch it.
So, y'know, that's worth something. This film, however, is worthless.