Warner Bros.
Halle Berry stars as a graphic designer who becomes "Catwoman."

To rework the tagline from the "Spider-Man" comic books, with great power comes great stupidity.

But that's not a reference to the latest "Spider-Man" movie — probably the best superhero movie to date.

We're talking "Catwoman," which not only has the misfortune to come on the heels of "Spider-Man 2," but may be its exact opposite — the worst superhero movie to date.

"Catwoman" is nowhere near as amusingly silly as the theatrical trailers and TV ads make it appear. It's boring.

And it certainly won't do anything for Halle Berry's career.

Berry stars as Patience Philips, a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a cosmetics company that's about to launch its new line of beauty cream, called Beau-line.

The ad campaign claims that the cream may reverse the effects of aging. However, it's also quite addictive and may cause other, possibly lethal effects. When Patience discovers the truth, Hedare's nefarious owner (Sharon Stone) sends hitmen after her — and they apparently succeed in drowning her.

That is, until Patience washes up on a nearby shoreline where dozens of cats find her and breathe "life" back into her — which also evidently imbues her with some supernatural, cat-like abilities, including climbing skills and night vision.

At first, she's tempted to use those powers for her own benefit, to bring her "killers" to justice — unaware that her nocturnal activities are being tracked by Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), a detective who's dating Patience by day.

True, the premise sounds pretty campy. But director Pitof — that's his name, just Pitof — apparently didn't get that memo, and he treats the material as straight-faced as possible, which is a huge mistake.

The dialogue (credited to three screenwriters) is howlingly bad, as is the plotting; it makes the story and character development of most comic books seem coherent and plausible in comparison.

Of course, it doesn't help that Berry is so awful. Even if everything else was top-notch, her performance would be enough to sink the film. She's not even remotely convincing as the bad-girl heroine, and even less so as her mild-mannered alter-ego.

"Catwoman" is rated PG-13 for scenes of action violence (fist fights, gunfire, a stabbing and whippings), vulgarity (sexual innuendo, as well as some lewd dancing), scattered use of mild profanity, and some glimpses of nude artwork (paintings). Running time: 105 minutes.


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