Movie Review: Puss in Boots

Oct 28, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek voice the staring roles in the action-packed origin story of Shrek’s infamous Puss in Boots.

Agile, deadly and completely obsessed with himself, Puss in Boots is the star of his new animated adventure film that tells audiences from whence this fencing feline came.

Puss in Boots

Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss in Boots is a character from Shrek, the successful DreamWorks animated film series. The story begins with this saucy kitty living the life of a thieving outlaw just trying to score his next bowl of leche.

Banderas versus Billy Bob Thorton

The only way to do this is to steal (of course!) the magic beans from Jack and the Beanstalk fame. Our furry hero must then plant them, mount the stalk and locate the goose who lays the golden eggs. Only with that kind of loot can he begin to redeem himself to the townspeople he loves.

Because Puss in Boots isn't a thief at all, you see. He was forced into the underworld by his former best friend, Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). Muhaha...

Puss in Boots

Enter smooth talking Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek), and this dynamic trio has what it takes to foil Jack and Jill (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) to get the beans and complete the adventure of a lifetime.

Salma & Antonio sizzle!

It's Desperado all over again -- in a lighter DreamWorks animated kind of way, minus the guitar case. Banderas and Hayek have an electric chemistry -- even if it's just their voices! They spar with swords, dance moves and a potential love affair. This is their sixth film together, and their romantic courtship is definitely one of the most captivating parts of the film. Friendship, betrayal, adventure and redemption take a backseat to Salma and Antonio.

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But worry not, romance is not all that intrigues here. Ornery baby pigs, an underworld of stray cats and a mother goose that rivals Godzilla are just a few of the surprises sure to tickle your funny bone. This film definitely has laughs, but Galifianakis is not responsible for as many of them as some of his fans might hope. Instead, he plays the conflicted best friend who seems to always have something else on his mind.

Funny, but not cynical

So, if you're partial to the broad comedy appeal of typical Galifianakis films like Due Date and Hangover or the sardonic wit of Shrek -- which seems to love making fun of fairy tales -- you might be disappointed to find that this film embraces its fairy tale with less of a cynical point of view. Here, beanstalks are meant to be climbed, bravery is meant to be earned and eggs should always be good, at heart.

The tone comes from the title character, who takes life very seriously, and so does this film. It's a story of honor, love and integrity. The question is, why steal for yourself, when you could be stopping thieves? Puss aims to answer this for the parents and children alike. The message is solid and the laughs will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Puss in Boots is a classic fairy tale told by those who typically like to make fun of them. Don't get too close DreamWorks, or the big kitty eyes might get to you, too.

Bottom line: Puss in Boots is an exciting adventure film with dancing, sword fighting and a nice message about stealing that makes for a fun trip to the movies for the whole fam.