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Garfield (2004)

Garfield: The Movie

Get ready for frisky business

Directed by:

Peter Hewitt

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 82 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: U

Country: United States

Jim Davis’ long-running comic strip ‘Garfield’ was never particularly funny, and neither was the kiddies’ cartoon series of the 1980s – so it probably just about makes sense that this needless big screen adaptation is the comedic equivalent of having an oil-drum fall on your foot.

If any of you don’t know what ‘Garfield’ is, let me assure you, you’ve missed out on NOTHING. But, for the sake of completing this review if nothing else, allow me to fill you in. The title character is a fat, ginger, lazy-eyed lasagne-loving moggy who lives with his hapless owner Jon (here played by Breckin ‘Road Trip’ Meyer) and a small yapping pooch by the name of Odie. In Davis’ three-box comic strip, that’s pretty much as far as the story ever gets – but here we’ve got 90 minutes to fill, so it’s time to come up with a weak storyline and desperately stretch it for all it’s worth (and, failing that, pad it out with some ridiculously-bad song-and-dance segments).

That storyline goes a little something like this: Odie, it’s discovered is an incredible dancer. A mean-spirited TV entertainer by the name of Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky) spots the wonder-hound’s potential and wants him for his show. Jon says no. Happy takes him anyway. Garfield goes on a rescue mission. And, aside from a minor sub-plot involving Jon drooling over a short-skirted vet played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, that’s about it.

I’m actually a little embarrassed to say that it’s the great Bill Murray, a man whose work I normally champion without exception, providing the lead’s voice. Murray is the best comic actor of his (and possibly anyone else’s) generation, but here even he becomes irritating. The cat itself is brought to the screen as a big ball of CGI, and though the standard of animation is passable, it’s certainly nothing special in this day and age.

If you’re looking for a safe-as-houses movie to take the kids to this summer, then this’ll just about do it. There’s absolutely nothing offensive about it, and some of the very youngest of young ‘uns may even be vaguely amused for the first 20 minutes or so. But safe is all this flick is. It’s got no spark, no real wit, and I’m willing to bet most viewers – of any age – will leave the theatre bored out of their skulls.

It's Got: Love Hewitt looking like she hasn’t had a proper meal in months. Please girl, help yourself to some of that lasagne before you collapse.

It Needs: To let us in on whether or not Jon actually has a job.

Alternatives:

Cats & Dogs, Good Boy!

Summary

The cat’s whiskers it ain’t.

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