Written by: Alec Sokolow & Joel Cohen; from the comic
strip by Jim Davis
Cast: Bill Murray, Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt,
Stephen Tobolowsky, Evan Arnold, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Daamen
J. Krall, Rufus Gifford
Going into Garfield I think I had every
right to fear that it might tarnish my fond memories
of the Garfield comics and the delightful cartoon
series that ran on Saturday mornings when I was
a kid. I mean the warning signs were all there—the
horrendous trailers, the participation of sitcom
reject Breckin Meyer, and Jennifer Love
Hewitt (who is like one bad movie away from
joining the touring company of Grease). And
let’s face it, a Garfield movie is not exactly
what the world has been clamoring for. The popularity
of the comic series peaked about 20 years, so I
was honestly surprised that anyone would consider
this prime summer movie material.
For me the project appeared to have only one saving
grace: Bill Murray. Sure he’s made
some bad films, but can you think of any other SNL
alums that you would even think about using the
phrase “artistic credibility” to describe?
No, of course not, and Murray doesn’t disappoint.
His vocal performance perfectly captures the character
of Garfield. Which is more than I can say for the
CGI people, who have rendered a truly odd looking
Garfield for the screen. As opposed to, say, Gollum
in the LOTR’s films, this Garfield does not
blend seamlessly into a live-action environment.
The Garfield face just doesn’t offer that
much room for the medium’s nuances, and it
would seem that fur is one of those things that
CGI effects haven’t quite perfected. Eventually
you get used to him, but it takes a while.
As one might expect the story takes Garfield away
from the comfy confines of his master’s home
and leads him on an improbable quest to rescue Odie
(Jon Arbuckle’s dog and frequent target of
Garfield’s ridicule in the comic strip) from
an evil television personality who has kidnapped
him. Not surprisingly, this big adventure fails
to capture the mundane charm of the comics, which
are, of course, about a big lazy cat that wants
to nothing more than to sleep and eat. Garfield:
The Movie is not quite a disaster. Murray’s
vocal performance almost lifts it to mediocre, but
hardly anyone above the age of seven is going to
PS. If you need any more reason not see this, I
should warn you the soundtrack features the Baha
Men and the massively overplayed Black-Eyed
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...