A lesser offering from the live-action arm of Walt Disney Productions, The Cat from Outer Space features the tepid mixture of science fiction and slapstick that was all too common among the company’s ’70s offerings. The filmmakers try to enliven a fundamentally uninteresting premise by bludgeoning viewers with elaborate production values, familiar character actors, and laborious plotting—yet it’s hard to know which exactly which audience the people at Disney had in mind for this one. The main plot is silly nonsense about an alien, who happens to look like an ordinary housecat, enlisting the help of earthlings in order to repair his spaceship, while at the same time avoiding capture by soldiers and by a crime boss who wants to use the alien’s technology for nefarious purposes. However, a major subplot revolves around a hard-drinking compulsive gambler and his attempts to defraud bookies and gangsters by using the aforementioned technology in order to change the outcomes of sporting events. And then there’s the requisite infantile love story, because the cat’s main human accomplice is a nerdy scientist who can’t find the courage to court the coworker he loves. The gambling stuff and the romantic material would seem to be of little interest to very young viewers, and yet it’s hard to imagine grown-ups tolerating endless scenes of special-effects tomfoolery. (Picture lots of objects and people levitating.) Making matters worse, The Cat from Outer Space is dull and flat, despite fairly brisk pacing, simply because the character work and storytelling are so perfunctory. By the time the movie lurches into a convoluted rescue sequence at the end, all traces of charm and novelty have disappeared. Anyway, the picture does boast an eclectic cast of comedy professionals, each of whom does what he or she can with the script’s limp gags. Actors appearing in The Cat from Outer Space include Hans Conreid, Sandy Duncan, James Hampton, Dean Jones, Roddy McDowall, Harry Morgan, and McLean Stevenson—yes, that’s two commanding officers from the classic sitcom M*A*S*H for the price of one.
The Cat from Outer Space: LAME