Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

By Garth Franklin
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

The good news is the "Garfield" sequel is an actual improvement on the first, the bad news - only by a smidgen. Whereas the first film remains one of the absolute worst movies I've had the unfortunate job of reviewing in recent years, its sequel is more of a very run of the mill dull family feature that will quickly disappear from memory. Shifting the locale to London, the bare whisker of a plot mixes the old "Prince and the Pauper" swapped identities routine with a rather blatant but toned down rip-off of "Babe: Pig in the City" and yet despite all this, it still struggles to fill its minute 78 minute runtime.

The new locale allows for a better scope and more visual interests, along with a range of new human and talking animal characters. The odiously evil Billy Connolly (slumming it for a paycheck), and various great thesps like Bob Hoskins and Richard E. Grant deliver voice acting that's better than our ultra bland returning leads Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt. That pair remain slaved to the franchise and you really have to feel sorry for them being stuck doing this tired schtick again.

Of course the big pull of this series is Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield and once again you can tell the guy is desperately struggling to make the limp material work, but constantly fails. With more characters around, Murray thankfully doesn't have to tap dance for us as much and has more to interact with. Unfortunately it doesn't make him any funnier, in fact the film's few odd laughs actually come from other touches whether it be the fun use of score at times to the other actors dropping some cute lines (eg. the snooty Prince's "why is it the weird ones always get a cat and not a dog"). It devolves into silly slapstick toward the end which the littlies will love but most will simply see as tedious.

The CG is a slight improvement but the character still looks more like a walking toy than anything else. Plus in a strange move, every animal in this movie seems to be capable of speech - except Odie again, which I guess saves him as at least there's one personality you care about. Ultimately it's a shame such a great character is again wasted with such trite material. The significant cosmetic changes of location and additional cast hasn't yielded a proportional increase in the amount of laughs, despite attempts every few seconds to elicit them. Only for the youngest and most undiscerning of viewers.