Garfield 2: A Tale Of Two Kitties

1 out of 10

Garbage 2: A Tale That's Too Crappy

There can't be a true-born Londoner who hasn't bought a copy of the Evening Standard to enjoy its publishing of the syndicated Garfield strip cartoon, about a cat and his owner Jon, as he smakes his way home in standing room in a smoke filled British Rail carriage. And for him, this film is not so much a slap in the face, but a repeated good kicking in the crotch for his loyalty.

From the opening moment when you see the first words are "Billy Connolly", a tiresome old Commie who will appear in anything that will offer him his next bottle of whisky, you know that it's going to be garbage, yet this still fails to convey what a sordid piece of filth this movie is. Set mainly in a ludicrous chocolate box England that is supposed to be less than 100 miles across, all the English as loyal buddy, working class Cockneys, led by utterly gutless hoity-toit aristocrat cowards who are all utterly gutless cowards, more stupid than a Downs Syndrome Convention. If they had filled the flick with black houseboys fresh off the cottonfields saying "Yes Massa" to blond-haired Aryan KKK heroes, fighting conniving Jewish moneylenders, it could not have been worse.

Unlike the cartoon series, that was based closely on workaday frustrations and experiences to which we can all relate, the plot too is a thin and stupid one, based on endless million-to-one coincidences. As Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) races across the Atlantic to stalk his girlfriend, Liz the vetenarian assistant, the owner of Prince, a cat that is the double of Garfield, dies. Through her love of cats, she leaves the Palace of Carlyle by Prince for the duration of his lifetime, thwarting Lord Dargis from his inheritance and from his dream of redeveloping it as a set of high-rise apartment buildings.finds that he can only gain possession of it by killing off Prince. What follows is a very poor rehash of "Mousehunt" as Connolly races around trying to kill off Prince with the very cheapest in slap stick, usually centred on Connolly regularly being hit in the head and being knocked out and some overly cute talking animals that look like a left over from "Dr Doolittle".

John Lennon once said, "When we are children, they treat us like we are small" and "Garfield 2" certainly sticks closely to the concept that if it's for kids, it doesn't matter. Backed by tinny, irritating music, almost every performace, even that of the talking animals, seems forced and phoney. As she tramps around in her flat heeled shoes and a hair style that screams "I'm a retard", Jennifer Love Hewott finds herself standing in front of the camera, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, waiting for lines that just aren't there. It's sad to see her, the one-time homecoming queen and wet dream of college dudes in a score of teen movies, now reduced to such a dowdy bit part actor on a fast-track career to oblivion. And with Bill Murray, the one time star of "Ghostbusters" and Brechin Meyer as Jon, Garfield 2 closely resembles an elephant's graveyard for unwanted Hollywood stars.

Again with the dialogue, hardly a line from the writers, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow and Jim Davis, fails to convey the clear message of "We don't care" and have written all the dialogue in Americanese, so even Connolly, as a joke English lord is using words like "Condominiums", utterly unknown on that side of the Atlantic where the term "flat" is used. Likewise, describing the Queen as "The Queen Of England" is nonsense. England is only one part of the United Kingdom and to describe it as such is a true insult to the Welsh, the Irish and the Scottish who are NOT PART OF ENGLAND, but have their own nations states within it. Any official who described the head of state would be instantly out of a job and how Connolly, himself a Scotsman, could stand in front of the camera and insult his own countrymen for a buck or two shows the sad level of non-existent self-respect to which he has sunk.

The supposed inclusion of Jim Davis, the cartoon's creator, as a writer of this garbage is not only a person disaster for his own syndication in the UK, but is baffling considering the extent of trashing of basic Garfield lore that occurs. Whilst some minor elements, such as Garfield's passion for lasagne has been blown out of all proportion, others are either wrongly interpreted or, often, just plainly WRONG. Quite apart those like Odie being a Great Dane puppy in the cartoon rather than a dachschund, the responses of the characters are also, not only inaccurate but actually absurd. For instance, no matter what havoc the cat does, Jon never gets angry with him...nor even stressed out. The long suffering Jon, who would turn to the readers with his unique, blank, fuming stare at Garfield's antics, has been replaced with some crackhead who would bounce around with a smile even if his leg was being sawn off.

A dismal failure from start to finish, this is certainly one to avoid. Indeed, it is hard to think of any other film with such abusive racial stereotyping, and the fact that it is "for kids" is serious cause for concern.

Not for kids... nor anyone else

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett