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Puss in Boots: Take This Movie for a Spin (Off)!

Spinoffs are not as easy as they look.

We tend to remember spinoffs that are successful—in movies and TV, in food and beverage products, in computer hardware and software.  And we tend to forget spinoff attempts that don’t work out so well.

“Puss in Boots” is a spinoff that works.  This is good news for Dreamworks SKG and for fans of animated films.  Introduced as an incidental character in the second “Shrek” movie, Puss may now be strong enough to become a franchise.  I would not be surprised to see “Puss in Boots 2” in 2013.

Much of the credit goes to the voice actors, especially Antonio Banderas as Puss.  His delivery walks the line between a sincerely cocky disposition and a playful tongue-in-cheek attitude.  Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris as Mr. and Mrs. Jack and Jill also turn in memorable voice work.  Other players are Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty-Dumpty.

While the movie’s story has nothing to do with “Shrek,” like “Shrek,” it takes a classic fairy tale (“Jack and the Beanstalk”) and turns it sideways.  The animation is imaginative and, for a change, the 3D is worth the upcharge.

“Puss in Boots” is not as funny as the first couple of “Shrek” films, but it has charm galore.  To use an old cliché, it is the cat’s meow!

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