Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) / Comedy-Animation
aka Garfield 2
MPAA Rated: PG for crude humor and mild violence
Running Time: 80 min.
Cast: Bill Murray (voice), Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly, Tim Curry (voice), Bob Hoskins (voice), Lucy Davis, Sharon Osbourne (voice), Vinnie Jones (voice), Rhys Ifans (voice)
Director: Tim Hill
Screenplay: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow (based on characters created in the comic strip, "Garfield", by Jim Davis)
Review published June 23, 2006
The French novelist Collete once wrote, "Time spent with cats is never wasted." The folks at Fox have proven this statement wrong twice now.
It's hard to believe that a sequel to 2004's dismal Garfield would ever be made. It's harder to believe that it would be made with its core cast still intact, including the voice work of Oscar-nominated actor Bill Murray (Broken Flowers, The Life Aquatic). However, there's nothing more difficult to believe than the fact the original film, as bad as it is, made almost $200 million gross worldwide, virtually ensuring the unthinkable would occur. It's not easy for me to reconcile that there are adults out there that would subject themselves to an hour and a half of monotonous drivel, or that there are kids over the age of five that would not find it too un-cool to even deem worthy of dragging their family and friends to the cineplex to see.
Like a slasher film nightmare, Garfield is back, and he's more hideous than ever, with even more silly antics, dumb story, and wasted talent than the first film. This entry fancies a "Prince and the Pauper" type plotline where Garfield is mistaken for a royal heir to a large British estate, while another fat tabby, Prince (voiced by Tim Curry, Valiant), the rightful heir, is taken in as Garfield by Jon (Meyer, Rebound). The reason this happens starts off with Jon taking his girlfriend Liz (Hewitt, The Tuxedo) to London in order to pop the big question, but Garfield, not wanting to lose Jon's affection, travels along with fellow pet dog Odie to put the kibosh on the proposal. Through a series of circumstances, the cats switch roles, with Garfield living the high life, having his every whim catered to in regal fashion. Life isn't all fun and games for Garfield, as the conniving Lord Dargis (Connolly, A Series of Unfortunate Events), the son that feels that the estate should rightfully belong to him, plans to get the cat out of the way so that he will get the castle and everything surrounding it to himself.
I'm really unsure whether or not people will feel that this sequel is better or worse than the first film, but I'm scoring it less for the simple reason of tedium induced by the combined ill-spirited momentum of both films. Perhaps it isn't fair to judge a sequel for the inherited sins of the previous film, but after sitting for about 80 minutes of Garfield already, having to sit through another 80 minutes seemed so much more difficult to endure. I absolutely could not maintain interest in the film for more than a minute before I would catch myself zoning out from sheer boredom.
The jokes are without any humor value, the script is a shamefully lazy patchwork of derivative ideas, and the character model of Garfield continues to look grotesque, while voiced in a terrible, grating fashion from one of my favorite comedic actors, Bill "Not interested in Ghostbusters 3, but Garfield 2 is OK" Murray. The filmmakers continue to ignore the spirit and characters of the original comic strip by making Garfield peppy, the humor slapstick-y, while also introducing many other characters and situations Garfield would never, ever be in.
Just who is the audience for this kind of film? My guess is that unless you are a child under the age of 10, or Roger Ebert, the answer is that very few people will walk away from experiencing the aftertaste of Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties hoping that they see a Garfield 3. On second thought, perhaps the aftertaste is to be expected coming from a film about an animal that licks its own butt.
©2006 Vince Leo