Review: Garfield, A Tail of Two Kitties
Sometimes my big mouth really gets me in trouble. At the start of this project, as the Latin Snake and I brainstormed about the pleasures and pitfalls of this binge, we bantered about all of the terrible movies we'd have to sit through for the sake of our readers. The sequel to the 2004 kiddie movie, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties came up quickly as a particularly painful entry and I thought I was so witty to harp on the pun-tastic title and brag about going to see it. But as I walked up to the Union Square Theater last Saturday morning, I felt like I was on a death march. Someone should've ducked out of a brownstone to yell, "dead movie girl walking!"
Despite my obvious trepidation, the whole cast of the first Garfield didn't have such misgivings. Stars Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt from the first installment are back for more, though one could argue they probably would be home watching Oprah if they weren't working on this film. Not so for other cast members like "the star" Bill Murray as the voice of the fat cat, Billy Connolly as the baddie and Jane Horrocks, Tim Curry and Richard E. Grant all doing animal voices. Surely these people don't need to appear in a movie about a lazy, lasagna lovin' cat and his trip to England.
The thin premise if you're curious: John is going to propose to Liz but Garfield is jealous. Before the proposal, veterinarian Liz announces she's off to England for some kind of animal protection conference. John decides to go to the UK too and Garfield and his trusty sidekick Odie tag along in suitcases. MEANWHILE, a cat named Prince has just inherited a huge estate outside of London. The spoiled nephew of Prince's former owner (Connolly) wants to get rid of Prince so he can get the estate instead. Through various circumstances all coincidental in nature, Garfield and Prince get switched and Garfield has to help save the estate from the animal hating nephew.
At this point it's clear that I've spent far too much of my brain to thinking about Garfield but here's a few more ponderings for you: The conceit of Garfield, that a sad, lonely man owns a selfish cat whom he talks to, implies that Garfield and Jon have conversation yet don't hear each other. They each talk but they're not in dialogue. In the comic strips which I read obsessively as a kid, I accepted this idea without question but on the silver screen, it's an odd one. Also, really what's so great about lasagna and bad about Mondays? Garfield lives in a world of total absolutes. He exists only to stuff himself, sleep and hate everyone around him. Why is this so funny or universally understandable to the child mind? Epiphany! Dear lord, is Garfield our id, the part of our personality that satisfies the primeval?
Another thing I learned from this movie is that if you want to make a massive quantity of lasagna from scratch, apparently bringing in a team of cooking farm animals will do the job. Also my big complaint was that there wasn't enough Pookie. Garfield's stuffed bear has but a brief cameo. How about a third part that features Pookie prominently? Goodness, there goes our big mouth again. Shut up you, just shut up.