Rated PG for brief mild language.
Directed By: David Hewitt
Written By: Joel Cohen
Staring: Bill Murray, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Brecklin Myers, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Evan Arnold
Once again, my life has been saved by the miracle of lasagna. -Garfield
The infamous fat, orange, witty cat named Garfield (Bill Murray) spends his days taunting the neighborhood dog, stealing the neighbors milk, and sniping his owner Jon’s(Brecklin Myers) food. After a routine visit to the vet, Garfield’s doctor Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt) suggests that Jon adopt a second pet, a dog named Odie. Jon is swayed by his crush on Liz and agrees. When Odie is brought home he receives the royal treatment while Garfield is cast aside. In a strange accident, Odie is dog-napped by a local celebrity named Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky) who is looking for a new star pet. Garfield decides he must save Odie.
Based on the idea of the beloved comic strip by Jim Davis Garfield is materialized into a CGI character with the voice over of Bill Murray. If I ever imagined a person’s voice to portray the sarcastic nature that is Garfield, Bill Murray was the right choice. His comic timing is impeccable, especially being translated through the CG cat. Unfortunately for this film the director chose to split the film into CGI with live action. Have directors not learned yet? So far only Peter Jackson has really mastered a real interactive character with humans in a live action film. Garfield fails miserably on this point. The cat while infectious is obviously not a part of the world he is in. I suggest to director’s in the future to take the time to make the character fit into the live action world, not simply place it there.
The story itself is entirely typical. Man gets new pet, likes new pet more. Garfield gets jealous, is mean to new pet. New pet is lost, bad guy gets new pet, and Garfield has to save the day, then man is happy, gets the girl, and they all are one happy family. It seems to be teaching some lesson about friendship. What it was, was unimaginative and boring.
Some typical Garfield moments will bring a smile to old fans faces. His love of lasagna, and even the first fifteen minutes when we are exposed to the sarcastic, lazy cat as he is, instead of what the film manipulated him to be.
Perhaps the simple and uncomplicated story won’t be lost on a child audience, but it is insulting for an adult with a mind about them. Perhaps if the film had committed to a complete live action flick or cartoon, this premise and storyline would have banked, but the combination of the two was just awful. From the tragic CGI to awful interpretation of our famous bumbling nerd Jon this story is empty and boring.