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Garfield: The Movie

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Garfield: The Movie

Starring: Bill Murray, Breckin Meyer
Director: Peter Hewitt
Rated: PG
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: June 2004
Genres: Family, Kids, Comedy

*Also starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Geoffrey Gould, Debra Messing, Brad Garrett, Alan Cumming, David Eigenberg, Nick Cannon, J.D. Crew, Jim Davis

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Even the perfect choice for a movie's lead can't save a flawed concept. If you are going to make a movie about the comic strip character Garfield, the quintessential, laid-back, fat cat, there isn't a better actor to voice the part than Bill Murray, the actor who should have won the Oscar for his dead-pan work in LOST IN TRANSLATION.

The problem is that there isn't a comic series less appropriate for a movie adaptation than Garfield, and I say this as a longtime fan of the strip. Garfield, with its extremely dry humor, has one good joke per day, which it carefully underplays.

GARFIELD: THE MOVIE tries to open up the series and bring it to the big screen. If you're not a Garfield fan, you'll probably be bored to tears. And, even if you love the comic, you'll probably find the movie provides a few smile-worthy moments but no real laughs. The movie's funniest incident occurs when Garfield is blown so hard into an air-conditioning duct that his facial impression is stamped into the metal. It's a momentarily nice visual that is instantly forgotten.

Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt give by-the-numbers readings of Garfield's owner, Jon, and Jon's would-be girlfriend Liz. Neither actor appears the least bit interested in their characters. Stephen Tobolowsky plays Happy Chapman, the story's villain. He says things like, "no dumb, dirty animal is ever going to get the better of me." Garfield is given just slightly better lines. When Jon brings home a dog named Odie to be his second pet, Garfield is aghast. "Please, take this trouser sniffer back, please," Garfield implores Jon. And, please, 20th Century Fox, don't waste our time with a sequel, please.

GARFIELD: THE MOVIE runs too long even at just 1:25. It is rated PG for "brief mild language" and would be acceptable for all ages.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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