Judging from the rash of cat-based flicks (read: two) released last Friday, we can safely say to the feline-fanatics of Hyderabad – stay away. Garfield may not be the worst movie of the week
, but it comes close. Especially since you have to shell out Rs. 80 per child to watch it. It might be a better idea to buy them the comic. Or a cat, for that matter.
Garfield in the movie is a lot like the Garfield in your Sunday supplement. One, they both belong to the cat species. Two, they’re both orange and have an insatiable craving for lasagna. But while Garfield of the comic strip is a cynical, sadistic, thoroughly evil caffeine-addict, the one on the screen is much cutsey-fied and watered down version for the kiddies. And he manages more expressions than the original cat, who has exactly two – eyes half-shut, eyes open. Strangely, the latter manages to say more.
The movie is based on the fairly simple premise that dogs and cats are cute. Working from there, it goes on to add a few dialogues that enhance the cute-factor and take the story forward in a steady if predictable manner. (Having used up our quota of ‘cute’, we will now switch to its equally overdone synonym ‘adorable’.)
Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) is madly in love with his cat’s doctor, Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Unlike Jon of the comics, though, he actually stands a chance with the hot vet (sorry, that had to be said). But to win her over completely Jon adopts a homeless dog, Odie. Garfield (Bill Murray) is not thrilled about sharing his basket and owner with a “dumb dog”, so he takes necessary action.
Unfortunately, Odie gets stolen and His Laziness Garfield has to go find him. Now we see a side to the cat that’s warm, caring and does not, technically, exist. So the celluloid Garfield takes a wide leap from the cartoon one and turns into a one-man dog rescue team. With some assistance from the local pound, of course. And this is where more adorable animals step in and do their adorable thing. For e. g., there’s an uptight cat with a staggering British accent, a homie dawg of the Bull Mastiff variety, and a menacing Doberman, Luca, who raps in pure Eyetalian English.
The film belongs to Bill Murray, of course, who has all the funny lines. The plot whizzes along as Garfield finds Odie at the hands of a cruel dog-trainer and turns the tales on the meanie. All the plot’s funniness is derived from the cartoon, and all the cartoon’s funniness is squashed by the plot. But if you’re willing to forget the original for a bit and just go long for the ride, Garfield is not too awful. It manages a smile or two, if only in defense of how much you spent on the ticket.