Cat Person brings together CODA’s Emilia Jones and Succession star Nicholas Braun as an unlikely NYC couple who go on a few unsatisfactory dates before things turn incredibly ugly. It’s adapted from Kristen Roupenian’s acclaimed 2017 short story in The New Yorker, but sadly lacks the punch or brevity of its source material.
Margot (Jones) is a 20-year-old student working at a cinema, which the slightly older Robert (Braun) visits alone one time. Robert is awkward – though in a less endearing or interesting fashion than Succession’s Cousin Greg. Eventually, he asks Margot for her number and, after turning up at her uni loaded with snacks, gets locked in a dark room with her before using his hulking frame to smash the door down.
Following a proper date to see The Empire Strikes Back (Robert’s a big fan), they end up having sex but Margot still isn’t sure she likes him. It doesn’t help that Robert is a terrible kisser and lousy lover. On top of that, he shows little self-awareness – and can’t hide his dissatisfaction when Margot gets the title of an Indiana Jones movie wrong. Luckily, Margot’s pal Taylor (Geraldine Viswanathan) listens to Margot moaning about Robert long enough to steal her phone and dump him via text. The film still has nearly an hour to go though, which means that’s definitely not the end of it. What follows is a bizarre and unnecessary epilogue that plays more like an unimaginative, tame horror film. Coming after a fairly straightforward takedown of toxic dating, it feels weird.
In hindsight, director Susanna Fogel seems to have been trying to make a diet version of Promising Young Woman. That darkly funny revenge thriller at least contained plenty of shocks and laughs, while leaving you in no doubt how dangerous dating can be as a woman. Cat Person has some interesting ideas – such as when an invisible twin Margot appears on-screen to voice her thoughts – but other than that it never really excites. Neither Braun nor Jones seem particularly into each other – and It’s puzzling why Margot even accepts Robert’s number to begin with. Much like a bad date, Cat Person feels like a missed opportunity.
- Director: Susanna Fogel
- Starring: Emilia Jones, Nicholas Braun, Geraldine Viswanathan
- Release date: TBC