Garfield ~ Cute Kid's Flick

Aug 23, 2004 (Updated Aug 23, 2004)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Bill Murray


The Bottom Line: The Bottom Line prefers Fettucini Alfredo over Lasagna...

I like the Garfield comic strip. I hate the cartoon that came after. Not wanting to be disappointed, I did not go see the recent movie in theaters. Well, I got to see it for free last night and I have to say I liked it more that I thought I would.

This is, of course, about Garfield the cat. He’s a fat, sassy, orange dude who gets up to all manner of no good… as cats have a tendency to do. His owner, Jon, has a thing for the neighborhood Vet chick and on one visit she gives him a dog. This would be the lovable Odie from the comic strip. Garfield gets jealous and, through a chain of events, danger and laughter happen.

This venture used all real actors and animals with the sole exception of Garfield himself. I’m not averse to cartoons or animations, but doing it this way this time made it much more enjoyable for me. But let’s clarify this right off the bat: This movie was not aimed at me. It was aimed at kids. As such, I’ll be rating it as a kid’s flick.

The character of Garfield was fairly well done. I mean there is no illusion that it’s a real cat or anything, but after the first half-hour you do tend to forget he’s computer rendered. He starts to blend in and fit with the cast pretty well. His voice is done by Bill Murray this time and he does a good enough job in the scheme of things. I don’t know what I expect Garfield to sound like, but none of the previous endeavors came close. It didn’t grate on me this time as bad as previous versions.

Breckin Meyer (Road Trip) is the lovesick Jon. Now this guy is just cute as hell and was a very good choice for the role. You just want to adopt him. Besides, I’ve always been a sucker for a great boyish grin.

Jennifer Love Hewitt (Trojan War) is the vet and well, I dunno, kinda flat here. I like her ok, although she’s never been a favorite of mine. I don’t dislike her, she’s just kinda there to me. Same ol’ same ol’ here from her.

Stephen Tobolowsky (Freaky Friday) makes a good passable villain here, in a comical, characature kinda way. You know he’s the bad guy, and you know just as well that he’s gonna get caught and that it’ll be amusing. Very predictable yet fun.

See, now here I go analyzing it from my own perspective when it’s meant for kids. My bad. There were a ton of kids in the audience with me so let me tell you their reaction. The majority were glued to the screen, all giggling and worried at the right parts. A few, though, were really antsy… constantly adjusting how they were sitting, whining for a hot dog or soda pop… running around. This was shown on the beach so there wasn’t that formal theater thing goin’ on, but still I wish their parents had respected the rest of us a bit more.

I guess the bottom line for me would be about 3 stars. Amusing, but not something I’d pay to see. However, as a kid’s flick, I’m going with 4 stars as the majority really did enjoy it a great deal. There’s no language or sex and the brief bits of sorta-violence are done in an amusing way and blatantly make it clear that those things are not ok at all.

Go ahead and get this one for your kids. I think it will be one they’ll want to watch more than once.

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