Bodega Catz (with a z of course) is the latest Sony Pictures Animation film from the team behind Baby Geniuses 2: Baby Geniusers. It is a hybrid animation/live action film. The animals are all life-like, but slightly stylized so that it justifies animating them.
Bodega Catz is about the secret lives of those cats that are typically in bodegas and the misadventures they get themselves into.
The film opens up on a busy South Bronx corner. There are hydrants open and it’s clear that it is a summer night (Lots of incomprehensible spanish music playing). A storefront owner named Chinchito, played by George Lopez, begins to close up his shop for the evening to play dominoes outside of his store with his son, and grandfather. When he sits he begins to talk about all of the troubles he’s having keeping the store up and running with the rising rent costs. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do. The grandfather says something wise, and they all start drinking. As Chinchito and his family cheers, we pan to the inside of the bodega, and two cats cheers two glasses of milk together and start partying all over the bodega. Chinchito thinks he hears something, but he ignores it. The two cats Miguelito and Zippy are played by Diego Luna and Efren Ramirez. They have the typical dynamic where one is smart and the other is stupid, but because it’s ethnic, it’s kinda racist. Anyway they are getting ready to meet up with some friends at the bodega on the other corner. They head over to meet up with their friends Paco and Angelina played by Carlos Alazraqui and Emma Stone (who affects a spanish accent for the film). Anyway it’s clear from their hanging out and partying and eating the food in the bodega’s that there is a connection between Miguelito and Angelina, but Paco and Angelina used to date, so Miguelito does not want to intrude. The cats all do a bunch of shit that shows off that they are CGI.
The next day at Chinchito’s Bodega, Rembrandt Carver Stone Elliot the Third, a wealthy land developer played by Hugh Laurie stops by and informs Chinchito that he will be buying the property and plans to turn it into a parking lot (yup a parking lot). For some reason he comes to the Bodega with his cat named Alo played by Russell Brand, who begins walking around the bodega making mention of how low class everything they serve is and he and Miguelito get into an argument. Right as Miguelito is about to scratch Alo, Rembrandt leaves informing Chinchito he’s got a week to come up with enough money to buy the land himself. Miguelito hears this and he and Zippy go over to Paco and Angelina’s to tell them whats happening. Paco says that it could be a good thing. Maybe they can finally move out of the city. Angelina says something about how this is there home and stuff and blah blah. Anyway, they start snooping around and go to Rembrandt’s high rise. He’s got an odd love of George Michael, which is really just an excuse to watch Hugh Laurie dance around in his cartoonishly large boxer shorts to “Faith.” Miguelito and Angelina run over to Rembrandts computer while Zippy distracts Alo. Alo begins chasing Zippy which gives them enough time to see that Rembrandts plan is to turn all bodegas and delis into parking lots and charge crazy fees.
In a montage that has Angelina and Miguelito going to an Italian Deli, a Jamaican Restaurant, and a Chinese food take out spot, the Bodega Cats begin informing the other cats about Rembrandt’s plans. If he’s successful, all cats will have to live in the street. The Italian Cat is played by Danny DeVito and it’s old and fat. The Jamaican Cat is played by Marlon Wayans, and the Chinese cat, who is really weird but becomes friends with Zippy is played by Ken Jeong. Anyway all the cats go to their owners, (lots of cameos here) and start purring loudly like they want something (humans don’t know cats talk), and all the cats bring their owners outside. Somehow the cats have gotten all the neighborhood folk of the Bronx together to tell the store owners that they are important their city. They can’t let Rembrandt turn everything into a parking lot. A pregnant spanish woman has a poignant line about how the bodegas practically raised her kids, and at that moment Chinchito says enough is enough. He rallies the store owners together and they decide to have a bodega-thon. I don’t know what that means, but somehow it’s a thing and when Rembrandt comes to the Bodega-thon he says it’s too late. They deeds are all going to him. But at that point, Alo says “not so fast.” Everyone turns around and realizes that the cat is talking. He said that he couldn’t stand by and watch his cats thrown into the street like cats. He stopped the payment from going through and now there is still time for Chinchito and the store owners to buy back their land. It works, and Rembrandt furiously leaves without Alo. Alo now doesn’t have a home, but Miguelito says something about how the bodegas and delis of the world always need good cats. We see a new bodega opening up across the street and the store owner, in a cameo by Jennifer Lopez takes in Alo, who begins speaking with a spanish accent. At the end of the film Miguelito and Angelina finally make their feelings known and kiss. The Chinese Cat, Zippy, and Alo become best friends together and clearly are being geared for a spin-off. Everyone dances to a J-Lo song.