A few years back, I noticed that the more ridiculous a movie is, the more critics have a tendency to just describe the plot exactly as it happened, as if the ridiculousness of a bad movie is so self-evident that it requires no analysis, only presentation (it makes perfect sense). Based on that observation, I gave myself a challenge: try to recreate the plot of a film I haven’t seen beat for beat, using nothing but summary from reviews (no analysis!).
So it was, Plot Recreated with Reviews was born. Thing is, it’s only really entertaining if the movie itself is truly ridiculous (more than just dull or hackneyed or silly: weirder). A movie like that only comes along every so often. Luckily, Nine Lives fit the bill.
A concept that began as a French EuropaCorp exec’s idea for a quirky, Woody Allen-esque film aimed at adults (and written that way by its first two hired gun screenwriters), was eventually inherited by a different Europa exec who thought it should be exactly what the guy who came up with the original premise swore it wasn’t: a family comedy. The first exec died in May, but the cinematic Edsel he set in motion hit theaters this past weekend, boasting the unlikely pedigree of Men In Black director Barry Sonnenfeld and Kevin Spacey, and no less than five credited screenwriters (it’s not their fault… it’s not their fault…). It clocked in at less than 90 minutes and didn’t screen for critics (the poor souls below had to either finagle their way into the premiere or see it on their own dime), sure signs of a studio trying to cut their losses and move on.
In any case, without further ado, here it is, the plot of Nine Lives, as written by the critics who sat through it (chapter headings my own).