This review of “Unleashed” contains mild spoilers, but nothing you wouldn’t find out by reading the movie synopsis on IMDB.
I was sick over the weekend, and we spent the day watching the new season of “Arrested Development” and when that was over, I was grumpy and frazzled. When my depression (grumpy) and anxiety (frazzled) kick into high gear, I prefer to rewatch something familiar. Familiar is soothing. However, my husband was home and likes to watch new things. I decide what we watch most of the time because I’m very much a “mood” viewer and have to be in a certain mood to watch some things.
Rather than tell Will I was frazzled and needed something soothing, I just let him pick something because he doesn’t get a lot TV time and when I’m awake he gets to watch what he wants 80% of the time. I figure I’ll handle my mood and just suffer through whatever horror movie he picks (he likes horror movies and his queue is just full of them.)
To my surprise he picks “Unleashed” a movie he’s been waiting to watch with me. This movie was soothing and delightful and funny and sweet. It was a balm to my frazzled soul – Will couldn’t have picked a better movie for my mood. I told him after we finished watching it that I don’t expect him to read my mind, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the movie! First of all, the premise of the movie is a woman’s dog and cat turn human. Kate Mucucci portrays Emma, an orphan with trust issues. One night her door is left open and the dog and cat run away. While they are gone they turn human. Hilarity ensues.
The worst thing to happen in this movie happens in the very beginning. Emma tells her rat fink, live-in boyfriend about this night sky app she’s made. He steals the app and deletes her iCloud (I hissed, “Oh, you bastard!” when this happened, because he didn’t just steal her app, but erased her life, too) before leaving with a suitcase. Emma copes by getting a cat and a dog and moving to California.
Sean Astin plays the cuddly and friendly love interest. He helps her put up fliers. Meanwhile, her dog and cat have decided to compete for Emma’s affection, because they both want to be back inside her home, especially one piece of furniture that is very soft that they like to nap on. The cat tells the dog that they can’t both be with Emma because humans don’t do that for some reason, so they must compete for her.
Justin Chatwin portrays the cat, and he was the highlight of the movie. He gets picked up by a modeling agency, because who better to strut down a cat walk than a cat? He becomes a big deal in a short time in part because he has the haughty and arrogant mannerisms of a cat. Whenever the dog wants to get the cat’s attention away from Emma, he uses a cat toy to distract him.
The dog, portrayed by Steve Howey, is fun and likable and also provides a lot of funny moments. The scenes where he and Chatwin interact alone are some of the best in the movie for many reasons. Both actors really commit to being their animal selves and this works really well for the movie. At one point they gang up on a bully and it’s a lot of fun watching them work together with their very different dog and cat styles.
The entire cast is likable and fun. I won’t go on a rave about how great Sean Astin is in everything all the time, but needless to say I loved him in this. My love for Sean Astin started in childhood and adulthood hasn’t diminished that love one iota. Kate Mucucci is great as Emma because she has an appealing awkwardness that makes you instantly root for her. She’s a great character to watch deal with this craziness and you really want her to succeed. And she does succeed because it is a kind-hearted and lovely movie.
This is a movie I will watch again. It will join my list of rewatchables because I know if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up. I’ve read other reviews that complain that there isn’t enough tension in the movie, but that is exactly what I like about it. This isn’t a tense movie and this isn’t a movie that will exacerbate anxiety. This is a fun, funny little romantic comedy that focuses more on Emma’s life and pets than on the romance.
I give this movie an A and I deeply wish there were more lighthearted, funny movies like this out there.