Fritz the Cat may have lost one of his lives in the comics, but in his new movie, he has eight more lives left to go! While his wife screams at him, Fritz lights up a joint and reminiscences about what could have been.
A persiflage on the protest movements of the 60s. Its hero is the bold and sex-obsessed tom-cat Fritz the Cat, as created by the legendary underground artist Robert Crumb. Quitting university Fritz the Cat wanders through the hash, Black Panther and Hell's Angels scenes to find to himself.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Ralph Bakshi's FRITZ THE CAT was one of the most controversial films of that last golden age of filmmaking, the 1970's. Based on Robert Crumb's groundbreaking underground comic, the film was the first of its' kind to receive an X rating from the MPAA. In those days, an X rating was NOT a kiss of death at the box office and audiences flocked, making this a smash hit. Watching this 30 years later, I can't imagine what the fuss was about.
Perhaps it is my handicap that I have read the comics. I cannot see this film in any other light. Bakshi has taken Fritz-an oversexed, cool and hip character-and transplanted him into a story so sour, dark, pointless and hopelessly dated that watching this film becomes a chore. There are some moments that suggest the spirit of Crumb, but they are over much too soon.
Bakshi tries to paint a portrait of 60's America and what was wrong with it. Some of it does hit home- particularly the unrest between African-Americans and the police. But Bakshi never settles on the right tone for his film. Is it a raunchy sex comedy or a biting political drama? It doesn't succeed on either level.
Certainly not as a raunchy sex comedy. For an X rated movie, this is very mild. If you are looking for any kind of raunchy, erotic experience, you might as well go on. Whatever sex scenes this movie has doesn't last long and is mostly disturbing and joyless. There is a plethora of street language and drug use in FRITZ THE CAT. I have nothing against strong language or drug use in a film. Films like REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, PULP FICTION, PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK and PERMANENT MIDNIGHT use it to give us insights into their characters. But in FRITZ, it is used to merely shock. That's not good enough.
A friend of mine on the DVD Verdict site said in his review that "I don't advise the use of narcotics, but I think I can safely say that FRITZ THE CAT probably works better if you're high on some kind of illegal drug" I certainly agree with that. I don't condone drug use either, but most certainly the only way any satisfaction can be gleaned from FRITZ THE CAT is from being stoned out of your mind.
*1/2 out of **** stars
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