Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (review)

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Perhaps the most surprising thing about this bizarre amalgam of kindergarten-level slapstick live action and really bad CGI is that it’s not quite excruciating — I may have beat a hasty retreat the moment the credits started rolling, but I didn’t actually run screaming from the theater. If you’re over eight years old, of course, it’d be best to avoid this, lest your good opinions of snarksters like Bill Murray, Billy Connolly, and Tim Curry be forever besmirched: Murray (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) provides the voice of the CGI’ed comic-strip cat, and Connolly (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) plays the live-action British aristocrat who, in full-on, if PG-rated, Basil Fawlty mode, aims to rid himself of both the interfering Garfield, who has traveled to England stowed away in checked luggage, and his doppelganger, the snooty feline Prince (the voice of Curry: Kinsey) who inherited the fortune Connolly was expecting. While none actively embarrasses himself, you can’t imagine any will be eager to put this job at the top of his resume either. Surviving, as an audience member, this switched-places “satire” — the low-class, lasagna-loving Garfield is mistaken for the high-class, pampered Prince; no-class “comedy” ensues — requires convincing oneself that Breckin Meyer (Robot Chicken), who plays Garfield’s owner, Jon, is probably more charming than he’s been allowed opportunity to demonstrate again since the delightful Clueless, and in ferreting out the very few witty parallels with the Babe movies to be found among the barnyard menagerie Prince rules benignly over at his country estate. (The Scottish bunny, voiced by Rhys Ifans, is pretty amusing; too bad his onscreen time can be measured in seconds.) Of course, that leads to all sorts of uncomfortable questions you’ll want to kick yourself for obsessing over, like: How come Garfield and Prince are CGI creations while the rest of the animals are “real,” and why does Garfield’s nemesis, canine Odie, not speak even though other animals who, like Odie, are less than geniuses, do?

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