Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties

This kitty is for the kiddies

Cast: : Bill Murray (voice), Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly

Director: Tim Hill

Plot Summary: Garfield the cat travels across the sea to the United Kingdom, where he reunites with his human keeper Jon and settles in for some madcap hijinx.

There is not much for an adult to grab hold of in the second Garfield movie and stay interested. Unlike Disney and Pixar, which sprinkle their films with references for the grownups, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, who collaborated with half of Hollywood on Toy Story, don’t do much for the post-elementary school set here.

Based on The Prince and the Pauper, there was plenty of giggling from children in the theater, but more than one parent was dozing. Not even the presence of Jennifer Love Hewitt reprising her role as Liz was enough to keep most dads interested.

The settings are surprisingly well done. One would assume that the film’s budget was tied up in the cast, especially the actors playing the barnyard animals. That group included Bob Hoskins, Tim Curry, Sharon Osbourne (but not Ozzy) and Frasier’s Jane Leeves. At the head of the vocal cast, of course, stood Bill Murray, who once again played the smart-aleck cat.

That’s The Fact, Jack!

Separating Murray from his famous roles in Ghost Busters and Stripes will likely be a major hurdle for most Baby Boomers. The same voice that bucked up Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis by snarling, “Let’s show this pre-historic bitch how we do things downtown” is not the voce one expects to hear from a CGI cat, no matter how cynical that cat is. Viewers who had trouble separating Bruce Willis’ voice from Mikey in Look Who’s Talking and Die Hard’s tough guy will have the same trouble here.

The remainder of the cast is solid, not spectacular. Billy Connolly does well with his evil character and former child actor Breckin Meyer does a passable Jon Arbuckle. What is most interesting is that it is easy to see the John Cleese influence in Connolly and Meyer had more than a little Noah Wyle in him.

The Bottom Line, Popcorn Kernels and All

Toy Story works because of its originality. When dealing with a character as well developed and known as Garfield, making the story original is critical. Taking a worn out character and classic story coupled with ordinary performances is a recipe for disaster.

My other complaint was that it was hard for the adults, much less the kids, to keep the barnyard animals and their roles straight. That said, there was enough silliness and cartoon-like antics to keep the 5 to 8 year olds giggling. Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is perfect for them on DVD.

Five Things To Remember From This Review

1. The movie is based on The Prince and Pauper tale.
2. The vocal cast is full of well known voices.
3. Billy Connolly and Jennifer Love Hewitt do the best job among the human actors.
4. This is one for the youngest kids who don’t care about the story.
5. .and will enjoy the DVD extras.

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