Look. We should have talked about this earlier. But amid all the emerging Oscar bait and the election, some stories fell through the cracks last fall. It’s our bad. And so please accept our apologies as we finally, at long last, address the sex scene in Nine Lives.
For those of you who somehow missed the mental majesty of this daring family dramedy, Nine Lives is the film that stars Kevin Spacey as a greedy businessman obsessed with having his name on very tall towers, so much so that he’ll destroy marriages and the lives of his children in service to his ambition. Jennifer Garner co-stars as his second wife, who is young enough that I suspected she might find comfort in the arms of her step-son Robbie Amell, who is the child from
Trump’s greedy businessman’s first marriage to Cheryl Hines, who gets her comeuppance for being snitty when her ex-husband-turned-cat shits in her purse. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thanks to the magic of Christopher Walken, Spacey’s sneering executive survives a murder attempt only to be transported into the body of a cat called Mr. Fuzzypants. Meanwhile, businessman’s body is in a coma. So presumably the soul of Mr. Fuzzypants is trapped in a comatose, middle-aged man whose family seems in a real rush to pull the plug after a couple of short days. They’ve moved on. They’ve got a cat now! And a cat that shits in the purses and toilet-dunks the cell phones of their enemies! So, really who could blame wife Jennifer Garner for taking Mr. Fuzzypants to bed?
But hey now. This is a kids movie, even though it’s about business rivalries, and evil ex-wives, and constructing sky-high phallic symbols. It’s a kids movie. So there’s little nudity, and only the suggestion of intimacy.
Having seen the error in his greedy ways, a contrite Mr. Fuzzypants sulks into the bedroom of his pretty young wife (Garner), who doesn’t realize her husband’s soul is not actually in his body in a hospital bed, but instead in the hot-blooded, long-haired feline creeping up on her undressing. “Lara,” he says in a pining voiceover she can’t hear, “You’re so beautiful. Did I tell you that often enough?” This plays over a shot of Garner taking off her pants, a close-up on her bare legs. In context, it seems an odd allusion to The Graduate’s iconic stocking scene. “Are you seducing me, Mrs. Businessman?”
Then Garner enters the boudoir, wearing a silk nightgown. She plucks Mr. Fuzzypants from his perch, and strokes his fur, cooing, “Does someone need a cuddle tonight?” She carries him to her bed, sliding into the impossibly high thread count sheets, and whispers conspiratorially, “This is a special treat just for us. Don’t tell.” She pets him some more, saying, “How does that feel?” And as the cat’s tail wags, and Spacey says softly, “I love you,” Nine Lives fades to black.
Is it a literal sex scene? No, Mrs. Businessman and Mr. Fuzzypants don’t bone. It’s old school. It’s SFW. It’s tongue in cheek. But it’s a sex scene. And still arguably less weird than the faux-suicide attempt at the center of its confounding climax.
Kristy Puchko’s favorite thing about seeing this movie in theaters was the child in the audience who cried out in the middle, “I’ve had ENOUGH. I want to go home!”