You couldn't imagine a more bland and predictable Garfield movie than the one showing now in cinemas. It completely misses the wry tone of the comic strips that inspired it, preferring to plug the self-centred cat into a production line kiddie movie along the lines of Cats And Dogs, See Spot Run and Good Boy! The plot is so thin that even at 80 minutes, it still feels slow and padded. That's too bad because the film does have one ace up its sleeve. In Bill Murray, the film-makers found the perfect voice for Garfield. Playing wisecracking slackers has been the comedian's speciality from Meatballs to Groundhog Day and his sarcastic one-liners partially redeem an otherwise weak family comedy. It's just a shame he wasn't given more to work with.
Garfield, a fat, ginger tomcat, lives happily with his owner and "primary care provider", Jon (Breckin Meyer), who allows him the run of the house and spoils him rotten. A crack appears in Garfield's perfect world when Jon allows local vet Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), on whom he has a major crush, to talk him into adopting a dog. Enter Odie, a relentlessly happy little hound who pesters the unimpressed moggy to play with him and, worse, hogs Jon's attention. When Odie steals Garfield's treasured sleeping spot next to Jon's bed, the jealous cat gets his revenge by locking him out. He doesn't count on Odie wandering off, getting lost and ending up in the hands of an unscupulous television presenter (Stephen Tobolowsky). Wracked with guilt, Garfield sets off for the big city to rescue the dumb dog and redeem himself.
The title character has been brought to life using computer animation and, while the effects work is technically good, the CGI Garfield is a little off-putting and hard to get used to. He never seems to be part of his surroundings. It doesn't help that Odie and the other cats and dogs in the film are played by real animals, very effectively in Odie's case: he's adorable. It might have worked better if they'd either found a real cat to play Garfield or just animated the whole film. Younger viewers may find this movie diverting but they probably won't respond to it as well as they did to Finding Nemo, Harry Potter and Spider-Man 2. Like the live-action Thunderbirds, Garfield is a family movie that talks down to kids. Adults will be grateful for Bill Murray's contribution, which keeps this from being as nightmarish as Thunderbirds, although he may make them wish they were at home watching Lost In Translation or Stripes.
Last updated: 09/06/2018 05:43:53