Margot (Jones) is a college sophomore who works at a nearby arthouse theatre and spends a lot of time in her professor's lab researching a queen bee and an ant colony. Margot agrees when Robert (Nicholas Braun), a theatre goer, requests her phone number. To the dismay of Margot's roommate Taylor, they start communicating frequently via text and develop a relationship that only exists on their phones (Geraldine Viswanathan). When they do go on their first date, Margot finds that it isn't exactly what she had hoped for and that Robert is nothing like the man she had been communicating with through text.
The things that men and women could say or do when they first start dating are examined in Cat Person. Because Margot doesn't actually know Robert that well, there are many things that are left unsaid or that she is unsure of. She never stops visualising the worst-case scenario. Margot fabricates information to maintain appearances or to avoid upsetting Robert. Her confidence inspires him, but it's all incorrect in some way, and their communication is mostly based on preconceptions, their own fears, or gender stereotypes that have been ingrained in them and dictate how one should behave when dating.
The connection between Robert and Margot is supposed to be more awkward than it actually is, but the script does a poor job of portraying it. The film's tone changes frequently, and the execution is pretty lacklustre. The audience is on the edge of their seats for a split second, but the tension ends too fast to be effective. It veers too much between being a comedy and a suspenseful thriller. Despite this, the movie occasionally manages to be rather humorous, particularly in its awkwardness or the conversations between Jones and Viswanathan, who consistently does a fantastic job playing a feminist running a subreddit who is attempting to weed out the liars.
However, at two hours, Cat Person outstays its usefulness and ends abruptly. The final act, which features a fight between Margot and Robert, drags on needlessly and should have been completely omitted. With a better, more fluid writing, the movie wouldn't have lost any of its energy. Braun, who was miscast, is also excellent in his role, but Jones is better in hers. Cat Person was dragged in too many places to properly land, but there was a wonderful movie in here someplace.
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