Writer’s Potential: 5
Logline:In order to impress his childhood sweetheart, a clumsy cat tries to become a TV star.
Synopsis:GATURRO (a cat) arrives outside the house of AGATHA, the female he loves. She’s returning home from a trip. Gaturro smooths his fur, tests his breath, and holds up a banner welcoming her back. Agatha can’t see the banner because her owner has stuck a suitcase in front of her. Gaturro moves so she’ll have a better view of him and gets tangled up in the banner. When he finally gets untangled, a fancy toy car drives by just before Agatha sees Gaturro. Driving the car is MAX, a suave but self-absorbed cat. Agatha’s pleased that somebody remembered her homecoming and drives off with him. Depressed, Gaturro wanders the neighborhood roofs. He finds a photo album featuring himself and Agatha. He looks over the photos, which come to life as he recalls each moment of humiliation: drawing a cheesy, child-like sketch of himself and Agatha while Max commissions an elaborate painting depicting Max and Agatha as a king and queen; Gaturro and Agatha clumsily chasing a butterfly, smashing into each other; finally besting Max by buying a bouquet of flowers for Agatha when Max only bought a single rose, only the rose transforms into a dazzling diamond and catches sunlight at the perfect angle to instantly fry Gaturro’s bouquet.
Gaturro complains to his friends, KATY KIT, EMILIO, and LONGO, about Agatha. His friends agree that Agatha is a tease and Gaturro should move on. Katy Kit suggests Gaturro get some self-confidence and show Agatha he is brave and daring. Gaturro finally catches up with Agatha, who gives him the cold shoulder for not remembering her return. Gaturro tries to explain what happened, but she accuses him of just making excuses. Gaturro instantly demures, until he remembers Katy’s confidence suggestion. He orders Agatha to choose between himself and Max. Agatha tells him Max has proposed. Gaturro is crushed, even though she hasn’t decided whether or not she’ll marry him. When Agatha lists the qualities she looks for in a man, Gaturro imagines himself as a secret agent who can easily best Max. Agatha orders Gaturro to stop daydreaming and pay attention to what she’s saying. They pass an electronics store with TVs in the window. Agatha watches Tick Cat, a popular superhero show, and tells Gaturro he should be more like MICHOU, the star of Tick Cat. On the show, Michou as Tick Cat fights off a vicious pit bull. She wanders off, leaving Gaturro to wonder if he should be more like Tick Cat or the actor playing Tick Cat. He reasons that actors are more powerful than superheroes, so she must have meant Michou.
Meanwhile, at a TV studio, Michou performs on a soundstage. His overbearing (human) owenr/manager, MIMICHA, watches. Human director ALPLATO calls cut. Mimicha confronts the show’s human PRODUCER, demanding double the pay for Michou, whose popularity has skyrocketed. Producer refuses to agree to her terms, so she takes Michou and leaves. Producer panics, begging Mimicha not to leave. They play tug-of-war using Michou as Producer explains he has no money. His complaints fall on deaf ears, and Mimicha finally leaves. Alplato suggests setting up an audition for a new cat. Producer orders him to create an ad campaign for an audition tomorrow. The next morning, at Gaturro’s home, he drives owners DANIEL and LUZ crazy begging for food. Daniel places newspaper on the floor for Gaturro, and he sees the audition call. He grabs the newspaper, but his disgusted owners take it away, ball it up, and throw it away. Gaturro panics — he needs the address. Fortunately, the TV shows a similar ad. Gaturro tries to get his owners to pay attention to the TV, and also tries to show them how funny he is. Irritated, Daniel tells Luz to take Gaturro to the audition, to get him out of the house. Luz doesn’t want to, so Gaturro continues with his comedy hijinks: smashing vases, covering Daniel’s car with muddy footprints, drawing mustaches on the photos of all of Luz’s friends. Max overhears Gaturro excitedly talking to Katy Kit and Emilio about his plan to become a huge star and win Agatha’s heart.
Luz and VALERIA take Gaturro to a pet shop, where a hairstylist contorts his hair in various ridiculous styles. Gaturro panics when she tries to wash his hair. He flees, and the hairstylist goes after him with a net. Producer complains to Alplato about how awful the auditions have been. Alplato doesn’t trust him, so he decides to look in on the auditions from now on. Stressed out, Producer sees Gaturro in the pet shop window, surfing across the floor on a box of soap, trying to elude the hairstylist. A crowd has gathered to watch Gaturro, laughing hysterically. Producer realizes he’s found his next star, but he can’t catch Gaturro, either. Max asks Agatha if she’s made a decision about his proposal. She tells him to stop pressuring her, and accidentally calls him “Gaturro.” Max is perturbed. A young mouse actor, RAT PITT, auditions for Producer, who is irritated because the audition called for cats, not rats. Producer starts sending a trained pit bull to attack bad auditions, which panics Gaturro. He hides in the prop room, where Rat Pitt finds him. Pitt thinks Gaturro is going to eat him, so he pretends a prop dog is his friend, until the head falls off. Gaturro timidly introduces himself, explaining he’s there for an audition. Seeing he’s friendly, Pitt gets an idea. He convinces Gaturro they should audition as a team. When he finds out Gaturro is not serious about his craft, Pitt almost changes his mind, but he realizes it’ll be easier to mold Gaturro and make him do his bidding. He dazzles Gaturro with a musical number, which leads to a montage of Pitt training Gaturro and the pair rehearsing an audition piece. Gaturro is a strong performer, but when he’s called to audition, he freezes.
Producer, who recognizes Gaturro from the pet shop, is sincerely disappointed. Alplato is angry and sends the pit bull after him. This brings Gaturro back to life. He runs away, comically clumsy. Pitt capitalizes on the situation, dressing up like a woman and pretending to be a damsel in distress, in fear of the pit bull. Gaturro hams it up, pretending to be a superhero. Suddenly, Producer and Alplato change their opinions. Up in the rafters, Max holds a flea-ridden dog up to a fan, sending the fleas down to infect Gaturro. Gaturro freaks out, trying to get rid of the fleas, inadvertently infecting Producer and Alplato. He leaves the audition, dejected. Pitt tells Gaturro not to give up, but Gaturro knows it’s all over for him. However, Producer and Alplato have other ideas: Flea Cat, the comic superhero. When Gaturro arrives at home, he’s surprised that his owners greet him happily, as a star. Producer is there, explaining their Flea Cat concept. Michou disappointedly watches Flea Cat, realizing Gaturro is poised to be a bigger star than he is. A brief scene shows the superhero’s origin story: bit by a radioactive flea, Gaturro is granted super powers, which allow him to save cats from dangerous creatures like pit bulls. Gaturro’s friends watch the show and congratulate him. Agatha is overjoyed at Gaturro’s success, but she masks it with aloofness. Gaturro tries to impress her, but he’s mobbed by a bunch of female cats wanting autographs. Max swoops in and takes Agatha away. A montage follows, depicting Gaturro’s rise to fame: getting mobbed by female cats, photographed by paparazzi at restaurants, photo shoots for magazines, going on a spirit quest in Inda.
Agatha comes around Katy Kit and Emilio looking for Gaturro. She tells him he’s all over the city, and Agatha realizes Gaturro’s face is on everything — billboards, posters, magazines, products. Mimicha angrily learns of rumors that Gaturro will be nominated for an “Oscat” award. Gaturro is bored with fame and fortune, because he’s alone. Pitt’s ego has inflated despite the fact that he’s a supporting player. Agatha watches Flea Cat. In her mind, the villain Gaturro fights morphs into Max, and the damsel in distress morphs into Agatha. Gaturro has the same imaginary thoughts, which boosts his performance quality. Alplato and Producer are thrilled — they know he’s destined for an Oscat. Finally, Agatha finds Gaturro and admits how impressive he is. Now that he’s more like Michou, Gaturro wonders if she’d reconsider dating him. Agatha wanted him to be more like Tick Cat, not Michou. Gaturro is embarrassed and ashamed. Agatha invites him to go for a walk. As they walk through a playground, they fall deeper and deeper in love. Max witnesses this and calls GATALINA, plotting something to break Gaturro and Agatha apart.
Producer and Alplato drag Gaturro away from Agatha, saying he can only date studio-approved women. Mimicha is enraged when Gaturro is granted access to a fancy restaurant for his date with Gatalina (the studio-approved cat) but Michou is not. Max buys a bunch of tabloid magazines for Agatha. All of them depict Gaturro’s love affair with Gatalina. Agatha says yes to Max’s proposal. Gaturro sees the same magazines and knows this will ruin everything with Agatha. Mimicha comes back to Producer, begging him to put Michou back on TV. Producer refuses, enraging Mimicha. Max purposely removes Gaturro’s wedding invitation from the pile. Gaturro receives his Oscat nomination, but it doesn’t cheer him up. Pitt tries to convince Gaturro to thank him in his acceptance speech. Despondent, Agatha realizes the Oscat awards ceremony is at the same time as their wedding ceremony. Max insists it’s a coincidence.
While Gaturro prepares for the award ceremony, Pitt overhears Max talking about the wedding. If Pitt tells Gaturro, that means he won’t be there to thank Pitt on TV. Pitt isn’t sure if he should help his friend or his career. Ultimately, he decides to help his friend, telling Gaturro about the wedding. Max sees Pitt and chases him. Pitt manages to get to the ceremony. Max uses a poster of Gaturro as a mask to get past security. Mimicha, who can’t get past security, sees him and thinks it’s the real Gaturro. She chases him. Max steals Mimicha’s purse and hangs it on Gaturro’s dressing room door. Mimicha finds it and grabs Gaturro, dragging him away. Happily, Max rushes off to his wedding. Later, Michou wakes Gaturro. Gaturro is surprised that such a famous cat would talk to him. Michou performs a musical number about how overrated fame and fortune are, and how much he prefers to be a lazy stray cat. Gaturro asks Michou to help him get out of there, but Michou tells him escape is impossible — he’s tried. Pitt enlists the help of Katy Kit, Emilio, and Longo in finding Gaturro. When Producer and Alplato can’t find Gaturro, Mimicha talks them into replacing him with Michou. Daniel and Luz are disgusted at the mistreatment.
While Max and Agatha prepare for the wedding, Pitt and the others track Gaturro’s GPS collar to Mimicha’s car. They sneak into it, and she drives them back to her apartment building. They arrive in time to see Gaturro clumsily attempting to escape from the 10-story building. Gaturro and Michou fall, and their friends catch them. They all race to Max and Agatha’s wedding. Mimicha and Producer follow. Gaturro and the others try to have to get rid of them before they can get to the wedding. He dumps water into the street, causing Mimicha’s motorcycle to slip. Producer grabs Gaturro to take him back to the Oscats, but Gaturro makes an impassioned plea to stop the woman he loves from making a mistake. Producer lets him go.
With Rat Pitt and the others’ help, Gaturro arrives at the church at the last possible second, interrupting the wedding before Agatha can say “I do.” He climbs in through the bell tower, getting stuck in the bells briefly before falling into the church, destroying everything. Gaturro pleads with Agatha, but Max reminds her that he’s a “ladies’ cat.” Gatalina, moved by Gaturro’s love, admits Max set everything up. Agatha’s enraged. She dumps Max, but Max will not go down so easily. He sends a huge robot after Gaturro. Pitt arrives and steals the robot’s controls. He forces it to let Gaturro go and start playing music and dancing. The robot goes out of control, so Katy Kit throws the controls into water to short it out. The robot stops. Agatha is impressed by Gaturro’s heroics. Max is forced to work as the assistant for a mechanic. Gaturro and Agatha walk into the sunset, madly in love.
Alplato has a temper tantrum when he learns they’ve lost Gaturro. Then, he sees someone on TV doing a dance similar to Rat Pitt’s audition piece. He orders Producer to track down Pitt. Gaturro and Agatha sit on the roof together, happy everything is back to normal. Agatha admits she’s always loved Gaturro. A news report reveals that Mimicha has been caught and sentenced to clean up after zoo animals as a punishment for her animal cruelty.
Comments:Gaturro is a cinematic adaptation of a successful Argentine comic strip. As a kids’ cartoon, it’s fairly amusing and endearing. However, the story and characters aren’t particularly strong, and the script relies heavily on moviegoers’ knowledge of the comic. Consequently, it will likely have trouble finding an audience in regions where the source comic is not popular. As written, it merits a pass.
The first act sets up a fairly generic conflict — Gaturro versus Max on the quest for Agatha’s heart — and takes it to amusingly extreme circumstances. However, it doesn’t do a particularly good job of establishing the characters. As mentioned, the script relies a lot on audiences’ awareness of these characters and their relationships, so it doesn’t take the time to set them up here. That puts anyone unfamiliar with the comic at an immediate disadvantage, so despite the cute jokes, it will be hard for audiences to get invested in the characters if they aren’t in advance of the film.
The story is also pretty low stakes — other than the possibility of Gaturro ending up alone, there aren’t any. He stumbles into superstardom in the first act, and the second act doesn’t do much to develop that into something suspenseful or even interesting. There’s a bit of toothless showbiz satire, which ultimately leads to a reasonably good kids’ movie message about how it’s better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable (although it ignores the possibility of being rich and happy), but this is a script that relies on sketch-comedy-style comedic moments rather than pushing the story forward. The obstacles thrown in Gaturro’s path are easily avoided, yet he allows them to keep him from obtaining his goals.
Finally, in the third act, the writers start taking the story seriously, but by then it’s a little too late. It’s not so much a problem of predictability — it’s obvious from page one that Max will get what’s coming to him, and Gaturro and Agatha will end up together — as prolonging the inevitable. Long sequences like Mimicha kidnapping Gaturro don’t register as a difficult hurdle as a distraction designed to pad the script to feature length. Even though it’s merely a kids’ movie, a stronger story that gives Gaturro real consequences and a real drive to achieve his goals would benefit it. Instead, it limps toward the wedding confrontation, delivering a curiously low-energy resolution to an otherwise manic storyline.
All of this, obviously, roots back to Gaturro’s fatal flaw: he’s incredibly passive. He makes one decision early in the script — to be more like Michou in order to win Agatha’s heart — but he doesn’t so much take action as stumble blindly toward his destination. This automatically affects the pacing and suspense of the story, because Gaturro lets things happen to him instead of making things happen. Similarly, Agatha is oddly, almost comically bipolar. Her decisions make no logical (or even emotional) sense — they just exist to keep tossing generic conflicts into the story. Her incoherent decision-making actually becomes an intentional running joke at a certain point, but that doesn’t make her any more compelling as a love interest. Max is the same way: a generically evil villain who preens and schemes without ever feeling like his decisions come from a truthful place. Cartoonish, one-dimensional characters are fine in a story like this, but they’d be better if they had some kind of internal logic driving them, rather than making random decisions for unknown reasons that serve the plot instead of the character.
The script has a ton of supporting characters, but none are in the story enough to become compelling or interesting. As with the major characters, the writers are obviously drawing inspiration from the source comics and have no interest in drawing an audience from those who are ignorant of its characters and relationships. These supporting characters will probably seem fine to audiences who know the comics, but they will come across as bland an ineffectual to those who have no knowledge of them.