Opinion: James Corden was the worst part of cinematic “Cat”-astrophe


Ella Haas, News/Opinion Editor

I live regret-free. In the past 17 years, I’ve done things that haven’t been in my best interest. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have. If given the chance to redo any of these things, I wouldn’t give my “no” a second thought. My mistakes have shaped me into the person I am today, with whom I am happy, and I wouldn’t compromise them for another identity.

The closest I have ever come to regret was when I saw “Cats” as a joke with a friend.

I hated it: the fake British accents. Ten minutes of ugly-crying Jennifer Hudson. The magician cat in a tacky sequin getup and rosy drugstore lipstick, who looks like he has a life-threatening fever. The sense of violation stirred by the sight of Idris Elba’s naked cat body.

Viewers are subjected to a brief, traumatic, shot of Jason Derulo (a cat named Rum Tum Tugger, who’s definitely sending a “you up?” text on any given evening) clutching main character Victoria’s foot extremely close to his mouth, in an alarming scene that strikes into viewers’ hearts the fear that we are about to see Derulo suck toes.

Speaking of Victoria, she has the personality of a soccer ball flattened by a 2014 Ford Fusion. Her purpose is to sit with her mouth open and be pretty while magician cat Mr. Mistoffelees, who I thought was played by Jake Paul, does the talking. In the end, he saves the day (cheered on by passive, boring, spineless Victoria) and resurrects allegedly-transgender-Judi-Dench-cat Old Deuteronomy in a textbook example of deus ex machina.

I haven’t mentioned Skimbleshanks, the tap-dancing middle-aged railway cat in skin-tight (excuse me, fur-tight) red suspenders – or Rebel Wilson’s crotch-scratching cockroach-choreographing sleep paralysis demon Jennyanydots. I haven’t told you about the horror that is cat Taylor Swift, whose character Bombalurina serves as a rack-shimmying musical number singing Elba’s praises. I can’t even tell of the microscopic mice children, because I haven’t yet gotten to the worst of the cats.

I have never wanted to punch something so much as I did James Corden’s character, Bustopher Jones: the only cat whose name doesn’t sound like a rare liver disease. Considering Corden hated the film, one might assume I’m tempted to be sympathetic. However, he’s not funny, which made me initially callous toward him. In addition, his character makes me angrier than any wrong done to me.

Each time Jones appeared onscreen, my fists shrank into violent bulbs. My jaw clenched with the force of a vice. My knuckles never felt so destined for somebody’s cheekbone, never so much as they did for Jones – whose stupid, desperately comedic name makes my blood boil.

I never harbored a hatred like I do for this walking fat joke, this gumball with legs too thin to support its body, this irritating man holding his hands in strange nipple-height positions with fingers pointed to his feet. I don’t even know how to explain the position. It fills me with seething fury.

He delivers the worst song in the entire movie, which is about how fat he is, and is interspersed with instances showcasing just how bad “Cats”’s CGI is. In one clip, a bottle of champagne is poured straight into his mouth. The champagne fails to resemble a liquid (looking instead like a stream of Vaseline), and the sound effects are off: for about two seconds after the petroleum-jelly-champagne stops pouring, the sound of running liquid is still playing. The audience is subjected to an unnecessarily loud and deeply unsettling moment in which Corden smacks his fat stupid cat lips and bursts back into his song about being fat.

I ought to be grateful: Jones is the only non-sexualized cat in the movie. Even his female counterpart, Jennyanydots, is caught in strange sexualized positions and, at one point, in some kind of horrific Jellicle lingerie under her zip-up skin fursuit (did she get this commissioned? Did she make it herself? Did she have to order it from some kind of Jellicle fursuit dealer?). Nobody is safe in “Cats” – save for Jones, who, being fat and male, is the only cat spared a conveniently-angled shot highlighting his curvaceous cat butt. However, I’m not. Jones is so annoying it outweighs his lack of sexuality, and I can’t forgive the animated champagne.

A part of my heart belongs to my disgust at the worst-quality film I’ve ever seen, one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my entire life. A portion of that is devoted to my disgust with Bustopher Jones, the dregs of the scum bucket that is “Cats.” He is obnoxious and enraging. He could be replaced with a moldy gym sock without risking the film’s convoluted, collapsing mess of a plot. He is the bane of my existence, the cause of my misery, the target of my rage-driven efforts.

That being said, I don’t want the reader making the mistakes I did. Don’t see “Cats.” Spare yourself the money, the fuel, the time, and the emotional damage. Most of all, spare yourself the horror of Bustopher Jones, the most abominable character in cinematic history, and go check out literally any other movie instead. You’ll thank me later.