Meow: Critics Claw Halle Berry's Catwoman

07/22/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT

Meow: Critics Claw Halle Berry's Catwoman
Sara De Boer/Retna

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Confirming the industry buzz of the past few months, Catwoman is a dog according to the first batch of reviews for the Halle Berry summer movie.

"I would not have thought it possible," writes A.O. Scott in Thursday's New York Times. "It made me think back fondly on Garfield."

The movie is all style rather than substance, the reviewer goes on to lament, before expressing very little admiration for the style. "Watching it is like paging through a fat European fashion magazine at high speed in the lobby of a sleek hotel," he writes.

Scott does concede that Berry – who replaced Nicole Kidman, who dropped out of the project – and costar Benjamin Bratt "are nice to look at," though "the sloppy, hyper-active computer-generated effects" may deliver "eyestrain" to the viewer.

News York's Daily News gets right to the point about the spinoff of the Batman franchise: "Bad Kitty!" screams a large headline. The paper's front page even carries a warning: "Catwoman a catastrophe."

Not to be outdone, the New York Post, with its typical restraint, begins its scathing review by calling the $90 million production "purr-fectly ridiculous and boring" and bearing no resemblance to such previous Catwomen as Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns or the TV takes by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt.

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