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In ‘Puss in Boots,’ family fun flows knee-high

Antonio Banderas’ cool cat is pure comedic catnip in this 3-D romp

- By Claudia Puig

Who can resist the suave feline Lothario with the fancy plumed hat, the eponymous character in Puss in Boots?

Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) stole the show from the titular ogre and his donkey pal in 2004’s Shrek 2. So his solo foray is a welcome addition to animated family fare.

Here the dashing cat with the seductive purr meets his clever match and finds romance with the sassy Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and also embarks on an adventure with his old pal/nemesis Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianak­is).

With his impeccable comic timing and lyrical Spanish accent, Banderas’ swashbuckl­ing charmer is an undeniable treat. There could be no more perfect voice to match the visual. The lively romp is well-acted, cleverly written and vividly rendered, despite an over-the-top finale. Even the 3-D elements dazzle during swooping chases.

An early sequence in a cat cantina features startlingl­y deft choreograp­hy as Puss flamencos his way into the path of the alluring pickpocket, Kitty Softpaws. Puss and Kitty’s sultry paws-dedeux is one of the movie’s most entertaini­ng scenes. Puss always lands on his feet in the dance-off with the slinky Kitty, highlighte­d by a hilarious litter-box shuffle.

According to this yarn, Puss is a legendary outlaw. Inside, he’s a softie — or at least he knows how to use his adorable big-eyed ex- pression to soften the resistance of those around him. The tale explains how he came to be on the prowl. The events offer him a chance to redeem himself, something parents with impression­able children will appreciate.

The story has just the right blend of child-centered silli- ness and winking adult humor. When caught by the cops with catnip, Puss quips: “It’s for my glaucoma.”

Puss in Boots is blessedly not a sequel or a prequel. No Shrek stars pop by for cameos. Though he may be a spinoff, this Puss stands alone in his tall boots.

 ??  ?? Dreamworks Animation Stepping out: Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) make great dance partners.
Dreamworks Animation Stepping out: Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) make great dance partners.

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