You simply shouldn’t allow someone who dislikes a subject write about and/or direct it. Nine Lives, for all its other faults and minor successes, was not handled by someone who liked or understood cats. You could have gotten away with that 30 years ago, but with so many anthropomorphic pics (Zootopia, Secret Life of Pets, etc.) out there that do incorporate real animal behavior and whose technology captures their movements, short-cutting it stood out like a sore paw.
The cast was surprisingly top-shelf for what was delivered. Top-lined by Kevin Spacey (Elvis & Nixon) and supported by Jennifer Garner (Draft Day), Christopher Walken (The Jungle Book), with Robbie Amell (The DUFF), Mark Consuelos (Queen of the South), and Cheryl Hines (Life After Beth) in other pivotal roles to bring it together. It wasn’t lacking for potential talent and each did what they could with what they thought was the sense of the film. It came out more crazy-quilt in style than whole cloth, but each had a moment or two to shine.
Director Sonnenfeld (Men in Black 3) is typically better than this, but the subject and budget certainly didn’t help him out. The script, by 5 relatively untried writers, was also weak. There are moments and some good overall structure, but it couldn’t tell if it wanted to be satire, family film, or Lifetime movie of the week. In the end it was a weak brew of none of these.