Owen Gleiberman
June 09, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Garfield

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
93 minutes
Wide Release Date
06/11/04
performer
Breckin Meyer, Bill Murray, Nick Cannon, Alan Cumming, David Eigenberg, Brad Garrett, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Debra Messing
director
Peter Hewitt
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
genre
Animation, Comedy, Kids and Family

We gave it a C-

If you go to Garfield: The Movie, you’ll also get to see ”Gone Nutty,” a digitally animated 2002 short from the creators of ”Ice Age.” It features Scrat the fanged beastie and about 1,000 acorns (at one point, he attempts to knock them into a cushion while hurtling toward the ground), and it’s a marvel of slapstick kinetic physics. The only downside? It makes the cloddish, unfunny dud that is ”Garfield” look even worse.

On paper, at least, Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield sounded like an inspired idea: His vaguely decadent singsong meshes snugly with the comic-strip fat cat’s lazy-eyed, blasé narcissism. But Murray has been given nothing to deliver other than a series of exceedingly lame, tyke-friendly wisecracks. When Garfield’s owner, the redoubtable Jon (Breckin Meyer), brings home a dachshund mutt named Odie, the jealous Garfield exclaims, ”You had me, a chick magnet, and now you’ve got a tick magnet!” It’s enough to make you long for the wit and wisdom of Mike Myers’ ”Cat in the Hat.” Garfield, while animated with supple proficiency, moves through a cheaply photographed suburban landscape in which he’s the only creature — feline, canine, or human — who enjoys the luxury of a personality. That’s one very long stupid pet trick.

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