Movie Review: Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties
By Anne Brodie Jun 20, 2006, 4:14 GMT
America’s favorite feline, Garfield, follows his owner, Jon, to England. The U.K. may never recover, as Garfield is mistaken for a look-alike, regal cat who has inherited a castle. Garfield savors the royal treatment afforded by his loyal four-legged subjects, but his reign is in jeopardy. The nefarious Lord Dargis is determined to do away with Garfield, so he can turn the castle into a resort. Garfield’s bigger, better, more ...more
Garfield’s budgets been given a boost, as evidenced by this richly drawn sequel to the live action / CGI original.
It’s a Prince and the Pauper story, as Garfield, the King of the Cul-de-Sac meets his doppelganger (‘No, his look-alike!’), the aristocratic Prince, in his English stately home.
Kitty and caboodle have journeyed from Jon’s tres chic craftsman style bungalow in LA to Jolly Old England. Jon (voiced by Breckin Meyer) is in hot pursuit of the right moment to propose to his girl Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and surprises her by showing up at her London hotel.
Odie and Garfield appear our of Jon’s luggage; they stowed away to meddle with Jon and Liz’ romance, and put a stop to the engagement. Strangely, Jon can’t find the engagement ring.
Because if Jon marries Liz, Garfield’s life of lasagna, pay-per-view and the best seat in the living room will go out the door, maybe with him, because Liz is partial to Odie.
Prince and Garfield briefly exchange lives and identities; Prince arrives in London via sewer, after the evil Dargis (Billy Connelly) tosses him into a river. Prince has inherited the mansion and Dargis is the spare heir, intent on taking the place sooner than later, and developing it into a condo and spa development…even if it means felinicide.
Garfield shows up and no one is more surprised than Dargis, who presumes the he’s Prince and that Prince is dead and drowned.
Meanwhile, Prince is having a lesson or two in humility in London.
Their paths will meet in a hilarious mirror sequence directly stolen from Lucy Arnaz’ meeting with Harpo Marx in ‘I Love Lucy’.
There are lots of film references for the adults, from ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’. Also, there are various winks and nods to adults, some vaguely sexual and mostly to do with Connelly.
Watch for a truly inspired sequence during which Garfield teaches the estate staff how to make lasagna with two cheeses. A wonderful marriage of trained and CGI animals, in a storybook castle… memorable stuff.
This is a far superior Garfield outing than the original, thanks to the rich and fascinating backdrops of an actual English estate and grounds. One of the film’s best bits is the adorable and sassy animal population of the castle farmyard.
The ducks, geese, cows, pigs, ferrets and mice plot carry out intelligence operations to keep the estate under Prince’s rule so they won’t be fed to spa-goers and condo people. Lending their voices and personalities to the brood are Bob Hoskins, Richard E. Grant, Vinnie Jones, Jane Leeves, Jane Horrocks, Rhys I fans and even Sharon Osbourne.
Hewitt is perfectly cast as Liz with her cartoony-face and camera friendly eyes big enough to compete with Garfield’s.
Bill Murray’s Garfield was inspired before and still is, his voice dripping wit sarcasm and world weariness.
Kids should enjoy ‘A Tale of Two Kitties’ with its abundance of falling, burping, farting and biting jokes and lots of trained animals doing tricks.
This is not a classic film, nor is it a dud. It’s funny and sweet, the good guys get the girl and the stately home, and the bad guy gets his comeuppance along with a jolt or two to the nether regions.
Opened wide June 16th MPAA: Rated PG for some off-color elements