REVIEW: Puss in Boots

7 03 2012

We’re all allowed some major guilty pleasures, aren’t we?

So sorry that I’m not sorry about loving “Puss in Boots.”  I’m well aware that it’s a shadow of DreamWorks Animation’s heyday of “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” (which introduced the titular character).  And it’s still no Pixar.  But the day that there’s something wrong with having a good laugh at clever wordplay and situations is a day I don’t want to see.

I was busting a gut throughout the movie, and it wasn’t even in spite of myself.  It’s delirious fun through and through, reclaiming a shrewd wit that seems to have eluded this studio’s movies for the past few years.  I’ll admit that I had my doubts about a spin-off, even if it was based on one of my favorite “Shrek” characters.  Yet once the movie began, all my doubts were put at bay and I was enjoying the movie like I was five years old again.

Antonio Banderas’ thick Spanish accent once again brings that sucker punch of spirit to the character of Puss in Boots, no longer a marginalized sideshow (can anyone say Mike Myers’ Shrek was their favorite character in the series?) but headlining a prequel to the action.  I must say, he makes a good case that DreamWorks should have spent ten years and four movies focused on him.  Trotting from pun to pun and one twisted-off fairy tale character to the next, he brings a laugh and a wide-faced grin with him wherever he goes.

Whether it’s romancing Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), a perfect romantic foil, through dance battles or attempting to decode the mysterious motivations of Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis in some truly inspired vocal casting), his adventures are a blast as he pursues the golden eggs at the top of Jack’s magic beanstalk.  The story never feels like something we’ve seen before, a remarkable feat for a franchise entry.  “Puss in Boots” really is just rollicking good fun for some reason.  I could spend more time trying to figure out what exactly that reason is, but I’d rather just let its silliness be and accept the mystery.  B+ 

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