Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

Click Here to Buy Art Prints!

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

The fat cat is back, and there is no rejoicing.

The title is supposed to be an indicator of how cute and cheeky the movie is intended to be, but it just serves as a warning signal to anyone with good taste.  If you are over the age of 4, you will want to go running for the hills after 30 minutes.  Anyone under the age of 4 started running up and down the aisles at the 20-minute mark (trust me, I sat through a showing of the film in a theater full of youngsters who grew more and more restless and ill-behaved as the movie went further and further into the abyss).  There is no shame in direct-to-DVD, which is where Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties belongs.     

In this sequel to the average, but entertaining Garfield:The Movie, Jon (Breckin Meyer) has decided it is time to propose to his sweetheart (a smart move to lock her up before she realizes she can do better), Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt).  However, she has been chosen to replace Jane Goodall as a speaker at the British Royal Animal Conservatory conference (I heard you roll your eyes! Not that it was wrong...), and must jet off to Merry Olde England before Jon can pop the question.  He decides it would be a great idea to follow her across the pond and propose to her there, so, of course, Garfield (voice by Bill Murray) and Odie stow away for the trip.  If only that was the end of the plot, but there's more, and you aren't going to like the sound of this.

While in England, another cat who looks exactly like our coddled calico, Prince (voice by Tim Curry), inherits a royal fortune and castle, but the deceased has a good-for-nothing relative, Lord Dargis (Billy "When you can't afford John Cleese, give me a call" Connolly), who stands to inherit it all if something happens to Prince, so he gets rid of the cat.  However, a twist of fate leads to Garfield being mistaken for Prince, and brought back to the castle, where he must avoid getting whacked, and substitute for the royal feline to protect all of the other animals on the property. 

Can Garfield pull it off?  Will Prince ever return to the castle?  Will Jon and Odie find their beloved pal?  

This movie is so bad, I think you could shoot Garfield and even PETA would not object.  Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties qualifies as the most pointless sequel of the year, and possibly the dumbest as well.  Whoever suggested this ridiculous story idea should be driven out of town by a gang of studio executives carrying pitchforks and flaming torches. However, 20th Century Fox must have felt it was a sure thing to sell tickets for this sequel to parents who are dying to get their kid out of the house, so they let director Tim Hill go off to do what he could to get this piece of trash on celluloid. Yet, the material isn't there to make this a memorable, must-see follow up for even the most driven and mentally unbalanced Garfield fanatics.

The writers, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, have come up with a premise that sounds like a sweeps month TV sit-com stunt with the gang heading off to England, but doesn't do much to take advantage of the locale.  Then, what starts off as a story about Garfield's jealousy of Liz and his fear about how a marriage may effect his cushy lifestyle quickly devolves into the one millionth twist on The Prince and the Pauper, a plot line so overdone it makes the hot dogs at 7-11 seems fresh by comparison.  It’s like they had an idea for two different movies and someone smushed them together.  Finally, Cohen and Sokolow give up trying to write decent dialogue that derives its humor from the well loved characters and their personalities, and let Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties become a movie full of potty humor, guys getting kicked and bitten below the belt, and Odie peeing on the leg of a palace guard, while also tossing in the most predictable plot and jokes you can ever imagine.     

Murray gives it everything he's got as Garfield engages in a series of gags and antics so worn out and ridiculous, he has to feel just a slight pang of guilt in those deep dark moments when he is laying in bed trying to fall asleep.  You know Murray must have gotten some absurd amount of cash like $10 or $15 million for about 3 days of work to be convinced to participate in such a bad movie with no surprises and jokes that go beyond insulting our intelligence (and I bet he made them schedule his recording sessions for Monday - Wednesday so he could play golf and LAUGH ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK on Thursday and Friday).  The movie is groaningly bad, but the master wrings out a few laughs here and there, as if he accidentally stumbled across something he could make funny.  Although, Murray is to blame for the lowest point in my career as a movie critic as he sings a take off of the classic Movin’ On Up from the TV show, The Jeffersons.  Oh, the horror.   

Just when you think it’s safe to move on with your life, we even get an 80’s TV show-like ending credits sequence with still photos of stuff we saw in the movie, as if this tragedy is determined to haunt us even as we run out of the theater to escape the pain of it all.  Yet, I am left to wonder if another cheaply made sequel is in the works with Jim Belushi taking over the voice of Garfield.  Now THAT’S a made-for-DVD idea.

0 Waffles (Out Of 4)

Copyright 2006 - WaffleMovies.com