Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray, Tim Curry
Joel Cohen, Jim Davis
20th Century Fox
|I will confess that I had a certain fondness for the original film, "Garfield: The Movie." Was it anything special? No, not really. I rated it a mere C+, but I can honestly say I enjoyed the relationship between Jon (Breckin Meyer) and Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt). I also enjoyed Bill Murray's voiceover work as Garfield, and the script, while basic, was a tad sweet and a rather gentle, easygoing film for children.
Fast forward to "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties," a film that is so utterly lifeless, predictable and lazy that you will be looking at your watches before the halfway mark of the film's 80-minute run time.
Director Tim Hill captures, quite literally, none of the ever so slight charm of the original AND manages to do everything else wrong in the process.
Meyer and Love Hewitt? They are back for this sequel, but their performances are so completely irrelevant to the plot that they might as well phone in their performances.
Oh, wait. They DO.
Meyer was so adorably bland in the first film, but in this sequel he's just, well, bland. There wasn't a moment where I thought to myself "This man loves his cat" or "This man, who flies all the way to England to propose to his girlfriend actually LOVES his girlfriend."
Oddly, Meyer comes off better than Love Hewitt. Hewitt is, at the very least, an attractive, energetic and enticing young female. In this film, She's reduced to bad hairstyles, too much make-up and absolutely none of that quirky charm from the original.
By the way, did you know that Jennifer Love Hewitt has large breasts? If you didn't already know this fact, "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties" will prove it for you. Somehow, Hill made the marvelous directing choice to flaunt her breasts with lower-cut dresses in nearly every scene...this despite the fact that Liz is supposedly flown to London to speak as a "respected" veterinarian at a supposedly major animal conservancy conference.
Hewitt can act, and watching her flounder here is downright painful.
The same pain is felt in the incredibly forced performances of Billy Connolly, as Dargis. Connolly essentially spends the entire film trying to kill a Garfield look alike cat so he can inherit a castle and turn it into a major resort.
What is it about Tim Curry?
I LOVE Tim Curry. I make it a point to see nearly every Tim Curry film. I'm almost psychotically loyal. Do you have any idea how many bad films this means I've seen?
Curry is a marvelous actor with tremendous stage credibility, but he's simply never mastered the art of picking a decent film role. Oh, how I long for the days of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Here, Curry voices the Garfield look-alike cat named Prince (basically reduced to a British, "royal" version of Garfield). Curry's voice work is, to his credit, far more appealing and entertaining that Murray's lazy to the point of distracting return as Garfield.
Listen carefully to some of the other farm animals and you'll hear the likes of Jane Leeves, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans and Roscoe Lee Browne. Of course, it's doubtful you'll really care past about, say, the five-minute mark.
"Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties" is destined for a quick exit from theatres, judging from the audience of about 10 people sitting restlessly in the theatre during its opening night performance here in Indianapolis. The original unexpectedly raced to a $75 million box-office largely because it was unabashedly kid-friendly. Unfortunately, director Tim Hill focuses on gimmicks over Garfield and reduces the sequel to a sad hodgepodge of cutesie animal voices, stupid gimmicks and shallow dialogue.
In the end, "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties" passes only on the strength of Curry's invested performance, Abercrombie's tolerable performance and, yes it's true, four jokes that actually worked.
Here's hoping "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties" uses up the last of this cat's 9 cinematic lives and we never have to experience this kittie's litter again.
|© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic