Warning: Here come the claws.
Sometimes your passion is something that you’re just not meant to do. Such is the case for the main character of Catnapping, Otto, played by Ian Lyons. Otto desperately wants to be a filmmaker, so he moves to Brussels (like you do). So, he takes a job as an intern at the production company sweetly named Super Vision, and hatches a plan to organize an infomercial-geared team that will propel him into filmmaking stardom; one such infomercial being about a homemade mayonnaise machine that seeks to cash in on the Belgian condiment obsession.
It’s the perfect plan right? It’s exactly what you would do if you were an aspiring filmmaker! Ahem.
Well, then Otto encounters Maria, a gorgeous bathroom attendant who likes cats, and he is determined to find the lost cat of her neighbor’s to both impress her and win her love. Shot in all black and white, Catnapping is the tale of a man in love who goes all-in to accomplish his dreams. Got all that? Okay, great.
I feel like this movie would make for a much better novella than a film. The script felt unnatural, the plot seemed like a stretch that tore violently at my patience and Otto’s innocence (or naiveté, no, obliviousness maybe) is what I would only describe as is infuriatingly distracting. As a written story, it would at least offer me the privilege of imagining a more likable and endearing main character.
Valérie Muzzi as Maria, was the saving grace of the film. She is beautiful and a convincing actress that helped to move things along the best she could. It was almost like watching The Truman Show – one real person surrounded by actors. Her ability far outshined the rest of the cast. In fact, my favorite part of the film was when Otto takes her to various New York-themed locations in the area. Maria has always wanted to visit New York, and her reaction to this gesture was memorable.
Honestly though, the film just falls short of being watchable. Perhaps it’s the fact that Otto has this undeserving condescension throughout the film; talking about America like it’s the Promised Land, acting like he knows everything and having a general demeanor of “pffffff.”
Also, I’m a dog person, but even I wish that there were more cats in the film.
All that to say, maybe you will steal away with a more favorable take on the film when you visit www.manhatcat.com.