For about 40 minutes Catwoman is campy, trashy and fun. Then it's just trash: dull and depressingly empty. Halle Berry is Patience Phillips, a timid graphic designer at a cosmetics company, killed by her employer (Sharon Stone) after discovering a new makeup range is toxic. Resurrected by a supernatural cat called Midnight (really) she's transformed into a leather-trussed sex kitten with feline strength and agility. And some purr-fectly appalling puns. She feels like revenge. You will too.
There's a sense, early on, that everyone involved knows Catwoman is daft. Its slick, restless visuals and Berry's curve-enhancing costume are just enough to half-entertain pubescent boys and lecherous film critics. But then the fun drains out of the action and you realise what might have been knowing silliness, is in fact shoddiness. It lacks the played-for-laughs quality of the 60s Batman TV series, or the grounded Gothic grit of Tim Burton's big-screen Batman. And while Berry looks the part, she can't match the sultry slink of Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns - back when Catwoman was allowed character and ambiguity.
"SO THIN IT SHOULD BE ON A DRIP"
This Catwoman is about as ambiguous as a brick. Yes, she steals a flashy necklace that takes her fancy, but only while foiling a bigger robbery and beating up the criminals. She's framed for murder, but hasn't any sense of menace or edge: an absence underlined in the videogame-style fight scenes. The wailing soul score is the aural equivalent of a weeping sore; Stone is wasted in a role so thin it should be on a drip; Berry manages not to look embarrassed. "I may not be a hero, but I'm certainly not a killer," is a line of her risible dialogue. In truth, she's not really anything; a fancy dress dominatrix, all dressed up, with nowhere to go.