“Garfield – The Movie” – Review

OK, I think we all knew Garfield was going to be a lame movie, and, thanks to years of fostering and meeting low comic expectations, Jim Davis delivered.

The story begins its gradual descent when Garfield’s owner, Jon (played with Guttenbergian blandness by Breckin Meyer) gets a dog thanks to veterinarian/love interest Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt). A jealous Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) kicks Odie out and the dog runs away only to be picked up by unscrupulous TV personality, Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky), who needs Odie’s dancing skills in order to secure a place on a national morning show.

No, seriously, that’s the plot. Bad TV guy steals boogie-ing dog.

You can imagine where it goes from there and, in an effort to consciously block the remainder of the movie out of my memory, I won’t divulge any more (except to say that Billy Joel must be preparing to roll over in his grave thanks to a certain musical number).

Even Murray’s Herculean vocal efforts can’t help this hairball. He gives it his not inconsiderable comedic all, but the material is so poor that even he can’t get Garfield’s fur flying. (And to think – he went from an Oscar nomination for Lost in Translation to this?! I’m starting a collection to help hire him a new agent.)

Surprisingly the animation on Garfield himself is actually quite good. There must be some cat owners at the computers because they captured a lot of housecat movements and poses I recognize from my own tubby felines.

And Hewitt, although basically a wooden performance, at least lends some serious eye candy to an otherwise wasted 82 minutes. (What kind of vet wears short skirts and tight, chest showcasing tops?! Answer – my favorite kind.)

So, if you’re like lots of animal dancing, poorly conceived childish humor, and lining Jim Davis’ pockets, by all means rent/buy Garfield. Otherwise, steer clear.