No bounce for this dead cat

From left, Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield (Chris Pratt), and Odie (Harvey Guillén)....
From left, Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield (Chris Pratt), and Odie (Harvey Guillén). PHOTO: DNEG Animation/Sony Pictures Entertainment/TNS
Mark Dindal’s The Garfield Movie (Reading, Rialto) accomplishes the impressive feat of making the Bill Murray-led, live-action Garfield movies look appealing. Using popular IP for a soulless cash grab, the film makes a direct effort to disrespect its audience’s intelligence, expecting that a couple of grimace-inducing pop-culture gags and a mediocre story with a monotonous narrative arc will scrape $15 for a ticket.

Doing no character work with its protagonist and supporting crew, the film puts together a cluster of new characters with fragile motivations in a haphazard story about ... stealing milk?  

Narrative context is atypical in this film; every other line is a half-joke, which become so commonplace that they cease to be humorous. Filled with references to  good movies — the Mission Impossible series especially — The Garfield Movie prompts us to wonder, who is this  for?  

The best “kid’s films” are not empty of ideas, but this one masks its unintelligence by asserting that it is for children. Granting the lack of core themes reprieve for being a kids film then begs the question of why it refers to numerous  people and cultural events that children aren’t going to understand? 

The Garfield Movie is going to age like milk (pun intended). The film opens on a smartphone screen with Garfield narrating a food delivery order — something integral in this forced plot — and goes on to reference  dating apps’ premium services, cat meme videos, Shark Tank, and show Jon wearing a smartwatch, which only ever functions cosmetically.  


Mark Dindal 
Cast: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Snoop Dogg
Rating: (G)