The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat

The sequel to 1972’s Fritz the Cat isn’t terrible, but except for a few vivid bits of hallucinatory animation, it’s just more of the same. Fritz (voice of Skip Hinnant) sits in his squalid apartment, smoking dope and getting bitched out by his wife, who has had his baby. (The kid is named Ralphie, an homage to original Fritz director Ralph Bakshi.) Fritz nods in and out of lurid fantasies in which he works as Hitler’s assistant, has sex aboard a rocket, ventures into the futuristic city of New Africa (a borderline racist sequence), and goes to Hell, where “Lucifer is a faggot.” There are scraps of social satire, but it’s buried under sophomoric jokes about sex, blacks, Jews, gays, Puerto Ricans, and everything else. The offensiveness one can excuse in Bakshi’s films because it seems like a brusque attempt to break through taboos is here replaced with by-the-numbers offensiveness — which is always more offensive, and not in a good way. Nine Lives at its worst makes Bakshi’s crudest work seem positively elegant. It does have moments, though, and Skip Hinnant’s Fritz — self-pitying, but hedonistic and ironically aware of his own self-pity — continues to be a smooth comic presence. If Adult Swim had been around in the ’70s, Fritz could’ve had his own show.

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Explore posts in the same categories: adaptation, animation, comedy, comic-book, sequel

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