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Garfield: The Movie
2004 - PG - 82 Mins.
Director: Pete Hewitt
Producer: John Davis
Written By: Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow
Starring: Bill Murray, Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Geoffrey Gould, Stephen Tobolowsky
Review by: Joe Rickey

Two things I love: Myself and lasagna.
In recent years there have been a number of film adaptations of material thought to be classic in some way toward a young audience such as the recent ‘Cat in the Hat’ film and the ‘Scooby Doo’ franchise. Each one of these films were able to find a measure of success at the box office, as all but the second ‘Scooby Doo’ film were able to make over 100 million, and the lone film that didn’t wasn’t blessed with a cushy release date around a holiday or during the summer movie season. Now comes the adaptation of the beloved comic strip that appears daily in over 70 different countries and multiple languages, as ‘Garfield: The Movie’ hits the big-screen with a solid cast in tow and perhaps the best choice for the voice of the titular fat cat in Bill Murray. I am extremely happy to say that the resulting film is slyly humorous and nowhere near the disaster it could have been given Hollywood’s penchant for messing with perfectly good material.

The debut of the lovably acerbic lasagna-loving orange cat has him living the life with his haplessly shy owner John Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer). You see, John harbors a not so secret crush on Garfield’s veterinarian, the gorgeous Liz, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. This infatuation doesn’t sit well with Garfield, who ends up making numerous unwanted trips to the vet just so he can watch his owner stumble around trying to be smooth and charming around the girl he has had a crush on since high school. Garfield’s world is one day sent upside down when Liz coerces John into taking a dog from the humane society, an absent-minded dog named Odie. Garfield sees his owner paying more attention to the new pet and not giving him enough attention. As Garfield states in one of many witty lines, “You had me, a chick magnet. Now you bring home him, a tick magnet.” Suddenly though, Garfield is made to feel responsible when a local TV show host dognaps Odie in hopes of taking him on the road to costar in a television show to be filmed in New York City. Now it is up to Garfield to make a trek across many miles to save the dog he once despised for ruining his heretofore-perfect existence.

‘Garfield: The Movie’ is able to work as a family-oriented comedy because of an endless stream of energy that is present during most of its running time. The film, aside from a short span in the middle, never becomes dull as one can always count on Murray to deliver a witty line or two about how he loves himself, the fat cat who hates Mondays with a passion and despises all forms of exercise outside of occasional dancing. A scene in which Garfield schools Odie on the finer points of life and dancing is made downright hilarious by Murray’s pitch perfect delivery of each and every line. His sharp wit almost never fades as the film progresses; he’s armed with a sarcastic caustic saying for every situation.

The film also benefits from solid supporting performances from the human end of the spectrum. As John Arbuckle, Breckin Meyer captures the character’s signature awkwardness around members of the opposite sex with aplomb and Jennifer Love Hewitt is positively radiant as Liz, the object of his affection. They share great on-screen chemistry.

When it comes to comic adaptations, ‘Garfield: The Movie’ is a resounding success and here’s to hoping that this isn’t the last we see of the lovable fat cat on the big-screen.
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

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