Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Kirsten Dunst, Edward Herrman, Eddie Izzard, Cary Elwes, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Tilly.
'The Cat's Meow' was made in the US way back in 2001, and after watching it you have to wonder why they are bothering to release it here now? It has already been shown on Sky Movies and if you missed it there be sure and miss it again. The movie is adapted from a play of a semi-true story based on rumour and legend surrounding a star-studded weekend spent on the boat of media mogul WR Hearst (Herrman) in 1924.
The plot is as weak as a kitten with rickets. If the debauchery of 1920s Hollywood (drinking moonshine, a threesome, mistresses and some dope-smoking) was supposed to shock us, it doesn't. Hearst's adulterous relationship with a young mistress, the actress Marion Davies (Dunst), provides the love interest. The conflict comes from Charlie Chaplin (Izzard), whose advances towards Davies are not appreciated by the jealous boat-owner.
The characters do not help, as they are all too similarly despicable. Hearst is an ageing hypocrite who preaches moral virtues without abiding by them. Thomas Ince (Elwes) is a producer struggling to repeat past glories who will do anything to get himself back into the big time. Chaplin wants what he can't have just to say he's had it. There's only so much unbridled greed one can take!
Everyone wants something different from the weekend, and in typical Tinseltown fashion they will sacrifice anything and anyone to ensure they get it. The movie meanders along, never really going anywhere, and even the ending is unsatisfying. Don't feel compelled to stick around for it.
In summary, a film that is far too poor to love but not quite irritating enough to hate. Such apathy does not lend itself to stimulating viewing.