A dead pet isn't the only inert element of "Murder of a Cat," a plodding comic caper that fails to deliver.
Relative newcomer Fran Kranz ("Cabin in the Woods") stars as Clinton, a whiny loser with an Emo Philips haircut and a matching case of arrested development. He's determined to track down the culprit who deposited a crossbow arrow in his beloved gray kitty, Mouser.
He's aided in his obsessive investigation by the no-nonsense Greta (Nikki Reed), who also claims ownership to the late fur ball.
The overlong first feature by actress Gillian Greene, who's married to director Sam Raimi, tries hard to do quirky but fails to mine the necessary casual irreverence from a script by former "New Girl" writers Robert Snow and Christian Magalhaes.
Compounding the problem are the lead characters, who just aren't endearing enough to keep audiences tickled.
That leaves the reliable supporting cast of familiar faces, including Blythe Danner as Clinton's mom, J.K. Simmons as the local sheriff and Greg Kinnear as the smug store owner, to do most of the heavy comedic lifting, but ultimately they aren't enough.
"Murder of a Cat"
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Playing: Los Feliz 3.