“Puss in Boots” delivers solid humor with a Spanish flair

Jonathan Rainey, Staff Writer

Shrek’s Spanish feline companion has gotten his very own film, but is it able to hold up to the reputation of its longstanding predecessor?

Coming from the same fairy tale universe as “Shrek,” I had certain expectations for “Puss in Boots.”  Namely, I hoped that it would come closer to the quality of “Shrek 1” and “Shrek 2” and not stray into the realm of “Shrek the Third.” “Puss in Boots” regains some of the lost ground from the series and delivers a solid but simplistic animated comedy.

The story is told by the lecherous but adorable, Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas.  A rogue bandito, he is known for his skillful rapier work, his spicy salsa dancing and his status as an expert thief.

Puss reunites with his egghead friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) in order to go on a quest to find the Golden Goose. Together, with a mysterious feline femme fatal named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), this eclectic trio sets off in search of their fortune.

Before they can reach the home of the Goose located in the clouds, however, they must first locate the Magic Beans which will allow them to grow the Giant Beanstalk.  These beans are held by the evil couple, Jack and Jill.

It can safely be said that the animation is extremely well done.  Dreamworks can certainly be credited with creating top-notch animation that may only trail behind Pixar as far as quality is concerned.

Beyond the visual technology, Puss in Boots relies heavily on visual tropes for its humor.  Cat clichés, slapstick comedy and callbacks to classic spaghetti westerns make up the majority of jokes, and I only found myself laughing at a few of the spoken lines of dialogue.

The visual humor is, however, quite good.  Over-the-top action sequences and entertaining Spanish dance routines coupled with equally good music stand out as some of the most memorable moments of the film.

The plot is the film’s primary shortcoming.  Understandably, the fairytale plots of this movie should be simplistic, but “Puss in Boots” felt somewhat disjointed.  The characters are much more interesting than the conflicts they are placed in the middle of, and while specific sequences of action set themselves apart from the rest of the film, I never was particularly engaged in Puss and Humpty’s actual quest.

It’s nothing deep or thought provoking, but “Puss in Boots” is good for some lighthearted humor.