Garfield: The Movie
Director(s): Peter Hewitt
Writer(s): Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow
Reviewed by: Ian Evans on
Release Date(s)Jun 11, 2004 - Wide
Garfield: The Movie combines the CGI-animated lasagna-loving cat (voiced by Bill Murray) of comic strip fame with live action actors and animals in an adventure that only a child could love.
Garfield lives with his owner, Jon (Breckin Meyer), and spends his days giving attitude, dreaming of lasagna, and watching TV. Jon, who’s crushing on Garfield’s vet Dr. Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), ends up adopting a dog named Odie. Not wanting to share his space or his food bowl, Garfield causes Odie to run away and the dog ends up getting taken by Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky), a local TV personality who is hoping to go nationwide with his animal act. Feeling a rare feeling of guilt, Garfield sets off to save his new roommate.
Murray’s up-to-the task of delivering Garfield’s one-liners and putdowns, though with his recent successes you have to wonder if he just did the gig because he wouldn’t have to get dressed up or spend time in the make-up chair. Though he’s the only animated character, the other animals are voiced by the likes of Nick Cannon, Alan Cumming, David Eigenberg, Brad Garrett, Debra Messing, Richard Kind and Debra Jo Rupp. With such a recognizable voice cast, it appears that the money ran out, because Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt aren’t exactly the names you’d think of to be the leads in a movie at this point in their careers.
I enjoyed the comic strip at times but I never thought it was screaming out to be made into a feature film, though I’m still waiting for an epic big screen adaptation of Bloom County. The Garfield I remember though was a little more sarcastic and the one presented here seems to have been neutered so that his tone is more in place with the children this move has been aimed at. I always thought Garfield had an older following but this time it looks like the filmmakers just said “we need a cartoon cat for marketing tie-ins, who’s available?”
Director Peter Hewitt directed 2002’s Thunderpants, the story of a heavily flatulent boy who saves astronauts, so he does have experience with films aimed at kids and he also directed Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, so he probably has the stoner market covered as well. Unfortunately, it seems he wasn’t given enough of a budget for good CGI. Despite progress in the integration of computer-generated images into live action films, there’s something slightly off with the way the Garfield character looks especially when dealing with humans. I really would have preferred to see this just go the full animation route.