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 Garfieldâ€™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 Odieâ€™s dancing skills in order to secure a place on a national morning show.
No, seriously, thatâ€™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 wonâ€™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 Murrayâ€™s Herculean vocal efforts canâ€™t help this hairball. He gives it his not inconsiderable comedic all, but the material is so poor that even he canâ€™t get Garfieldâ€™s fur flying. (And to think – he went from an Oscar nomination for Lost in Translation to this?! Iâ€™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 youâ€™re like lots of animal dancing, poorly conceived childish humor, and lining Jim Davisâ€™ pockets, by all means rent/buy Garfield. Otherwise, steer clear.