I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. Yet, I have to confess. I actually enjoyed this movie.
"Garfield: The Movie" is far from a perfect film, but it's one of those films I saw on the right day with the right person in the right mood. I found myself going "awwwwwwwwww" and laughing at several points throughout the film and have chuckled more than once since seeing the film this afternoon.
What works with "Garfield?" Personally, I loved the voiceover work of Bill Murray (as "Garfield"). Murray was a wonderful choice for this role, and while I find myself a bit surprised he agreed to it...well, I'm glad he did. It works nicely with the lazy attitude of this famous cat. I also enjoyed a subdued but pleasant performance by Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's hapless owner. Also, Odie is a blast to watch throughout the film...it sort of took me back to the old days of films such as "That Darn Cat" and some of the early animal-themed Disney films. It was cute and funny to watch.
What didn't work here? For me, Jennifer Love Hewitt was remarkably safe and blase'. Additionally, I didn't care for her presentation at all...from hair to costuming to make-up. None of it seemed to fit her character. Quite literally, she added nothing to the film.
I also found myself troubled by the CGI version of "Garfield." While the voiceover worked, the actual production of Garfield was remarkably unappealing. He didn't look real, and was never able to project any of the charm or mischief of the character Garfield effectively. While I enjoyed Odie, I was also troubled by how FAR from Odie this dog actually appeared.
The script is very run-of-the-mill, and is only saved by the inevitable charm of the characters. (If you're a Garfield fan, they are charming...if not, you will most likely find them boring and cliche' ridden). Voiceover work by Debra Messing, Brad Garrett, Jimmy Kimmel and Alan Cumming all work nicely here. The film's "villain" is perhaps one of the lamest film villains in quite awhile as played by Stephen Tobolowsky.
This film is a nice, safe family film and was definitely worth my "Dollar Theater" viewing. I'd consider it worth a rental, and the 6 and 7 year old children I was with enjoyed the film. Great cinema? Hardly. A nice view for the entire family? Yep, I'd say so.