Tom and Jerry: The Movie (2021): Can We Just Stick to Shorts? – HBO Max Review

The world’s greatest cat and mouse team come back to the big screen… but why?


Tom the Cat (voiced only by archive footage, mercifully) arrives in New York to try and achieve his dreams of being a pianist. At the same time, Jerry the Mouse is searching for a home in Manhattan. When Tom tries to play keyboard in Central Park, Jerry ends up sabotaging him and destroying his keyboard. As Tom chases Jerry, he runs into Kayla Forrester (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young con-artist who lies her way into a job at a fancy hotel. She is tasked by event manager Terence Mendoza (Michael Peña) with helping to organize the wedding of celebrity couple Ben and Preeta (Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda). Unfortunately, Jerry has moved into the hotel and has been running amok, so Kayla brings in Tom as a way to get rid of them. Chaos ensues.

The mouse does not lose.


Does anyone else out there even remember the cinematic tragedy that was the last Tom and Jerry movie? The one where they talked? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you are living a slightly more blessed life than me. It is because I have seen that film that I do not consider this to be the worst thing to come out of this 80-year long franchise. Because even if this movie manages to take a ton of talented actors and completely waste them, even if this movie made a number of decisions that border on the comically inept, even if this film seemed frequently incapable of understanding even on a basic level what made Tom and Jerry funny, it still wasn’t the absolute crapfest that was the last Tom and Jerry film. At the very least, it didn’t have a long song number about how Tom and Jerry are now friends and will sing together.

The novelization was vastly superior. I assume. Because shorter.

Almost everything in this film was done wrong. Not just poorly, flat-out wrong. One of the weirdest decisions made in the movie is that every animal is animated. Not just Tom, Jerry, and their usual supporting casts, but pigeons, elephants, and horny background peacocks. Yes, there are horny background peacocks and that’s just a strange thing to put in a kids movie. Moreover, all the things that USED to be animals are also animated, including cuts of meat and dead fish. There’s a scene at a fish market that is literally filled with animated corpses and it does not really add anything to the experience aside from making it seem like people still butcher animals in a world where they’re obviously sentient. They also make Tom’s near-invincibility and cartoon anatomy into an actual feature of his character, which kind of ruins some of the humor. How exactly can you care about someone getting hit if you know they can’t really be hurt? 

Even with a real hammer, no real damage.

The other thing is that the plot of this movie is almost entirely focused away from Tom and Jerry. I’m not saying I needed to have the whole story based around them, they definitely can’t sustain a 90-minute film, but the majority of the film’s actual plot is based around Kayla trying to put together a celebrity wedding and, in fact, trying to keep the couple together despite the fact that they clearly have a lot of issues. Colin Jost is PAINFULLY unfunny as Ben. It’s almost like they cast him just because they needed someone who could believably marry above his station. Michael Peña has to play the bad guy, but not like a fun bad guy. He’s just petty and too serious. They could probably have had all of these people improvise and have produced a much better script. 

So much talent wasted.

Also, the scenes WITH Tom and Jerry aren’t particularly great. Tom and Jerry usually worked because they are fairly dark. Their shorts are based around the two constantly trying to hurt each other violently and usually almost entirely out of just plain spite. It was watching the worst impulses and situations played out harmlessly. That’s why the Three Stooges were funny, it’s why Itchy and Scratchy are funny, and it’s why Tom and Jerry are funny. It works. This film, instead, replaces most of the violence with representations of chaos, like storms of animals or just giant waves of destructive energy. It’s not funny to do it that way. The fun was in the frying pan hitting the face.

Overall, it’s just not a good movie.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold: The Above-Silver Standard of Adaptation – Hulu Review

I checked out the live-action Dora the Explorer film and it was surprisingly good.


Dora (Isabela Moner/Madelyn Miranda) was raised in the jungles of Peru by her parents Cole (Michael Peña) and Elena (Eva Longoria), who were trying to locate the lost Inca city of Parapata. The only other person she saw was her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg/Malachi Barton), who left when she was 6. Ten years later, Dora is sent by her parents to live with Diego’s family in Los Angeles while they try to finally travel to Parapata. Dora doesn’t fit in well at the school, but due to her positive attitude she doesn’t tend to get dragged down too much by it. Her intelligence earns her the ire of A-Student Sammy (Madeleine Madden) and her kindness earns her the adoration of Randy (Nicholas Coombe). When Dora, Diego, Sammy, and Randy get grouped together on a school field trip, they are abducted by a group of mercenaries under a man named Powell (Temuera Morrison) who take them to Peru. Powell and his men want to find Dora’s parents and the city of Parapata, which is made of gold. Dora and the kids escape with the help of Dora’s pet monkey, Boots, and a man named Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez) who worked with Dora’s parents. Dora resolves to track down her parents and, with the help of her friends, find the lost city of gold. Also, Benicio Del Toro is a masked fox named Swiper.

I’m not saying I want Michael Peña to be my dad, but… I mean, don’t you?


I never saw Dora the Explorer or its spin-off Go Diego Go because it was after my time but before my nieces and nephew came along. Or maybe they watched it and I didn’t care enough to notice. I’m not a great uncle. I don’t know if that made this movie better or worse for me, because I am sure there were a ton of inside jokes that I didn’t get, but also I wasn’t so nostalgic for the series that this film’s mockery of the source material offended me. Regardless, I only watched this movie at all because I saw someone online say that it was a pleasant surprise, so I felt like I should pass on the good word.

Yes, there’s an animated sequence. Yes, it involves drugs.

This movie feels like one of the best examples of self-parody out there and I’m kind of astonished that Nickelodeon actually agreed to make it. The movie starts off by having the young Dora and Diego mimic their cartoon counterparts, only to reveal that the events are entirely inside of their imaginations. Young Dora even talks to the camera, which is revealed to be perceived by others as her talking into the air. Her father (all hail Michael Peña) just says that she’ll grow out of it. When she is older, she instead records herself using a GoPro, which allows her to still act as if she’s talking to an audience. It keeps one of the show’s elements in the film, but also pokes fun at how ridiculous constantly asking for a non-existent audience to talk to you would look in real life. 

Also, there’s monkey looks really messed up.

That’s actually most of the film. It’s gently poking fun at how insane a person like Dora the Explorer would be, particularly when she grew up, but it also loves the relentless hope and positivity of the character. This affection shines through even in absurd situations, like when Dora tries to use an instructional song to help another character dig a latrine hole. Unlike most films where the outsider would have a long rejection period, this one mostly cuts that short because Dora doesn’t care too much about what people think about her. It’s more empowering than most other films, because she really is stronger than most people. The film likewise mocks adventure film tropes frequently, but also pays tribute to them in the end. It’s a tough balance, but the film walks the line well while also having a ton of fun moments and funny dialogue. It also has possibly the greatest Danny Trejo cameo in history.

It has some solid Indiana Jones-esque moments.

Overall, this movie was really fun to watch. I’d recommend it, particularly after a few drinks.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.