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Film / Nine Lives (2016)

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Nine Lives is a 2016 comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

A business tycoon named Tom Brand rushes to get a last minute present for his daughter Rebecca, and enters a pet shop owned by a man named Felix Perkins. He buys a cat, and quickly makes his way home. However, on the trip back, he makes a detour at his tower, and he and the cat fall off when one of his associates refuses to pull him up. When he wakes up, he's in the body of the cat while his own body is comatose.

Perkins explains that he must reconcile with his family before his human body dies, or he'll be trapped as a cat forever.

This film provides examples of:

  • Act of True Love: Tom Brand has to learn the lesson that love means sacrifice, and he expresses it by throwing away his chance to prove that he is still alive and inside a cat's body in order to prevent his son David from committing suicide.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: When Tom’s family first adopts him as a cat they give him free reign over the house and put his food and water next to his litter box. Immediately giving a new cat free reign over a house is a terrible idea since cats need time to adjust to new surroundings. Leaving food and water next to a litter box is going to get litter into the cat’s food and water and may also Squick the cat out in ways that make it end up choosing its own place to go to the bathroom, usually one the humans in the house won't be very happy with.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Tom, as a cat, drinks a dish full of brandy. Alcohol is poisonous to cats. Furthermore, he's less than a 20th of his human weight as well, so that amount of alcohol would be lethal even if cats could tolerate alcohol.
  • Bait-and-Switch Suicide: Tom's son David comes to him in the hospital while he's in his coma to tell him he's going to take a jump from the top of the company building. Tom (who is trapped in the body of his daughter's cat), fears that his son is about to commit suicide. David jumps and Tom (as the cat) follows, only for David to launch a parachute towards the bottom. It turns out he wasn't trying to kill himself, it was a publicity stunt to outshow a competitive company for trying to build a larger HQ.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: At one point, two security guards decide to tase a cat, and this is portrayed as being funny.
  • Break the Haughty: Tom after he's switched bodies with a cat.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tom Brand to an extent.
  • Cats Are Mean: Discussed at the beginning and end of the movie.
  • Cats Are Snarky: To be fair, Tom already was snarky before he became one.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: A cat recovers from falling off a tower due to being on his eighth life and having one left.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Tom as a cat. Cat owners who watch this movie will be glad that their cat(s) is not as noisy as him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. See Bait-and-Switch Suicide.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The wingsuit and the dancing.
  • Forced Transformation: Tom is turned into a cat.
  • Hollywood Law: Executives can't be summarily fired, since their employment is under contract and they have clauses that restrict this. A majority shareholder also can't do things which damage the minority shareholders' stake in the company, as continuing the tower construction would.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Invoked with the name of Tom's company, Firebrand.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Tom after turning into a cat, going to great lengths to get alcohol.
  • Instant Expert: Tom goes from barely able to climb on a counter to flawlessly descending buildings in about a day.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The board of directors are uninterested in expanding the tower, as at this point the only real reason for expansion would be for their company (and Tom) to be the owners of the tallest building in North America - which is becoming a waste of money.
    Executive: We're not running a charity for your ego, Tom.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tom. Even before his transformation he's not really a bad guy, just too focused on business to be a good husband and father. Even his ex-wife concedes that he loved his family even if he doesn't show it. Once he was able to see firsthand how much his family missed him, he realized how much he took them for granted.
  • Karmic Transformation: Tom hates cats. Guess what he turns into? It's implied that Mr. Perkins does this on a regular basis to people who hate cats.
    Perkins: It's the not the end of the world, Tom. You're a cat.
    Tom: But I hate cats.
    Perkins: That's what makes this so perfect.
  • Literal Transformative Experience: Tom Bran is trapped in the body of a cat and forced to reconcile with his estranged family in order to regain human form, eventually realizing just how badly he took them for granted along the way.
  • Lady Drunk: Tom's ex-wife.
    Lara: Let's get you a new martini.
    Madison: YES.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers and commercials for the film were edited to make it look like Perkins magically transformed Tom into being a cat rather than placing his soul inside of a cat after he was gravely injured.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the bizarre Chevy Chase and Benji movie Oh! Heavenly Dog.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Mr. Perkins.
  • That Poor Cat
  • Trickster Mentor: Mr. Perkins, portrayed by Christopher Walken in a role similar to his character in Click.
  • Urine Trouble
  • The Usurper: Ian Cox.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: David, Tom's son.How?
  • Wolverine Publicity: This movie was heavily promoted by popular cats on social media, including Lil Bub and Nala Cat, stating that they were going to be in the movie. Nonetheless, they are just small cameos (with Lil Bub being more noticeable).