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Puss in Boots

This cartoon cat from Shrek is a lover and a fighter

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The Shrek franchise's slinky kitty Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) gets his spotlight in this animated fractured fairy tale. Chris Miller's film ditches the original story about the conniving cat who baits-and-switches his way up the social ladder, and instead inserts our feline hero into a Humpty Dumpty/Jack and the Beanstalk mash-up. Puss and Humpty (Zach Galifianakis) meet as orphans, and bond over the dream of finding magic beans. But the egg betrays Puss, who takes to a bandito lifestyle, before meeting Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), an even slinkier feline with a gift for theft. The two cats and the newly contrite egg team up to track down the beans (which, you may recall, lead to the beanstalk and the golden goose), all while being pursued by a thuggish human couple (Amy Sedaris and Billy Bob Thornton).

Puss is more action-oriented than Shrek, with lots of high-speed chases and kitty-cat acrobatics. At times, it's a little frantic, and there isn't much plot. It weirded me out a bit that Puss's behavior shifted willy-nilly between cat and human. (Similarly, the location seems to toggle between Old World Spain to the American Southwest.) I did appreciate that the humor was mostly low-key (the egg has lots of mobility issues due to its shape), and the kids at the screening were engaged and cheered for the rico sauve Puss and his derring-do. Adults may be weary of all things Shrek (who does not appear), but if Puss was your favorite character, this should deliver an amusing 90 minutes. In 3-D, in select theaters. Starts Fri., Oct. 28.

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