Garfield: The Movie (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Bill Murray
Director: Pete Hewitt

Garfield – that lazy, cool, lasagne-loving and overweight ginger tom – is back in style and true to form he has his owner Jon (Breckin Meyer) wrapped around his little finger. Garfield’s life is ticking over very nicely thank you, whether it’s lounging around inside his house or reigning supreme in his cul-de-sac antagonising certain less intelligent canines such as Luca, a neighbouring Doberman. On one of the many trips to his vet, Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who he visits not because he is really ill but whom Jon is attracted to though too shy to ask out, Garfield’s life takes a turn for the worse when, horror of horrors he finds a dog called Odie sitting in the front seat of their car for the return journey home – a ‘present’ from Liz.

Garfield finds his whole lifestyle threatened by Odie and despite his increasingly desperate attempts to manipulate and focus Jon’s attention back on him he’s fighting a losing battle. Garfield’s cynicism and ego are about to take a battering though when he is unceremoniously dumped outside the front door for the night for demolishing the downstairs of the house. He only knocked over one thing that then bumped into something else and so on like a domino effect, which he hadn’t really meant to do – it just sought of happened!

Garfield being Garfield can’t conceive spending the night outside and losing out on being tucked up in his cosy bed so he cockily out does himself this time when he tricks Odie into coming outside to join him, quickly nips back into the house himself leaving Odie alone, who -well being a dog – wanders off and into a whole series of adventures as Jon, Liz and Garfield set about finding him. Garfield eventually learns the errors of his ways and comes to, dare I say it, like Odie in this feel good movie.

Garfield is the only animated character in the film and he is excellently done from his eyes to the twitching of his tail and glossy, beautifully coloured fur. Bill Murray really captures Garfield’s mannerism and character with his voice characterisation. All the other animals are real and they manage to pull off some spectacular stunts. Breckin Meyer successfully portrays Garfield’s owner Jon but it is the beautiful, vivacious Jennifer Love Hewitt who is definitely a welcome boost to the movie and Garfield’s otherwise laid-back world.

The script is well done by a trio of talented writers including Jim Davis (Garfield creator), and screenwriting team Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, TOY STORY) backed up with good direction from Pete Hewitt (THUNDERPANTS) who keeps the movie flowing nicely and is well paced.

If you like Garfield’s cynical form of comedy and are a fan anyway then this is a must see for you and is a thoroughly entertaining family film.

4 out of 6 stars