The worst movie of 2021

Luke Nassief, Features Editor

I’ve seen my fair share of bad movies. They’re a good reminder of what makes something good. In my journey to understand more about films, one pit stop I simply had to make was with what was perhaps the worst movie of 2021: Tim Story’s Tom & Jerry. 

The classic Tom and Jerry cartoons work so fantastically because there’s no talking, they’re funny, and most importantly, they’re SHORT films. What happens when you drag that out into a movie? Well… take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes score for Tom & Jerry and you tell me. 

This movie is going for comedy, so let’s talk about that first. Tom and Jerry lend themselves to hilarious gags. There’s no dialogue to fall back on in Tom and Jerry cartoons; it’s just the animators and their imaginations. But of course, this is all ruined in live action. Now there’s dialogue to incorporate and characters to make likable and no fun environments you can bend to your will. Because of this, Tom & Jerry’s comedy fails on every level. The writing is horribly stale and cringey and Tom and Jerry are given nothing funny to do (mostly because of the live action environment they’re given). And that’s the other thing – Tom and Jerry are not the main characters of Tom & Jerry. Let’s talk about the story. 

Tom & Jerry tells the story of a young woman, Kayla Forrestor, who gets a job at a hotel currently dealing with a mouse problem. In her attempts to fix it, she teams up with Tom to take Jerry down before a prestigious wedding takes place at the hotel. The movie spends much more time focused on the woman, the bride and groom, and the other employees at the hotel than Tom and Jerry. This is understandable as the famous duo can’t carry a movie on their own, which is why this movie shouldn’t exist in the first place! I’d be willing to forgive this if the characters and larger story were good, even average, but they’re not. Not even close. Our main character, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, is simply awful. She gets her job at the hotel through lies and deception, working her way to the top dishonestly before finally having a change of heart at the end of the film. Keep in mind, that means we have to endure 90 minutes of her annoying character before she finally and suddenly changes as a person. This is not the kind of messaging we should be sending our kids in films. It doesn’t matter that she has a quick change of heart at the end, the fact of the matter is she couldn’t have succeeded in the film without cheating and lying and she’s rewarded for it. Beyond the bad messages and unlikability she sends to the screen, Moretz’s character also has no redeeming qualities personality-wise. Moretz gives an incredibly obnoxious performance as Kayla and her dialogue does her no favors. 

Michael Peña and the rest of the cast also give bland and unmemorable performances as their bland and unmemorable characters. The plot is lackluster and didn’t manage to engage me for a single second. There are also some horribly strange decisions that consistently pop up, like the talking bird who recaps the plot for the audience, the words that appear on the wall during Michael Peña’s strange interrogation of the animals, the way every animal except for Tom and Jerry talk, and the random scene where Tom actually sings. Tom & Jerry is nothing more than a slog to get through, and it was one of the most frustrating viewing experiences of my life.

Let’s talk on a technical level now. The animation is fine I suppose, but all of the animals stick out in the worst way possible. The way their lighting and styles don’t match their environment was a really strange decision. Just because this decision was intentional does not make it forgivable. It did not work. In addition, the cinematography, score, lighting, wardrobe, etc. are as unimaginative as can be. I genuinely cannot think of a single nice thing to say about any of it. 

Tom & Jerry might just be my least favorite film of all time. It represents everything I hate in modern films, especially children’s films. When I am saying this movie is worse than all of Illumination’s nightmarish films, that’s saying something. Warner Bros., I’m not sure what happened, but I know you are better than this. I give Tom & Jerry half a star.