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Garfield: The Movie is a 2004 American family comedy film directed by Peter Hewitt inspired by Jim Davis' comic strip of the same name. It stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield. Garfield was created with computer animation, though all other animals were real. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment Company and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film shares several similarities to the 1982 animated special Here Comes GarfieldGarfield: The Movie was released in the United States on June 11, 2004. Despite having negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success, grossing $200 million on a $50 million budget.[1] A sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released on June 16, 2006.

Plot

Garfield (voice of Bill Murray) is an overweight and free-spirited orange cat who lives with his owner, Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer). Garfield passes his time by antagonizing Jon and teasing an aggressive neighbor Doberman Pinscher, Luca (voice of Brad Garrett). Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a helpful mouse, Louis (voice of Nick Cannon). He also socializes with his fellow neighborhood cats, including Garfield's stooge Nermal and Arlene (voices of David Eigenberg and Debra Messing).

Meanwhile, a local television host, Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky), known for his cat "Persnikitty" is introduced as supposedly a happy man. In reality he is allergic to cats, jealous of his brother Walter J. Chapman (Tobolowsky), a news reporter, and destined to be more successful by performing on TV show Good Day New York. Jon has made a habit of bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, in order to see vet Dr. Liz Wilson (Jennifer Love Hewitt) (whom he is in love with). Jon tries to ask her out, but due to a misunderstanding, he is given custody of a stray dog, Odie, who is lovable and friendly. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield however, dislikes Odie and tries to remove him from the household by getting revenge. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in an altercation there with other dogs, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he begins dancing to "Hey Mama" by the Black Eyed Peas.

His improvised performance is a hit. Happy Chapman, who also is a judge of the dog show is impressed with Odie, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines. When Garfield comes back, he accidentally hits a ball in frustration, and causing a chain reaction that trashes Jon's house, and when Jon finds the house in shambles later, he forces Garfield to sleep outside for the night. Heartbroken, Garfield sadly sings ("New Dog State of Mind"). When Odie comes out to comfort Garfield, he gets inside and locks Odie out. Nermal and Arlene witness this as Odie runs away; he is then picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker (Eve Brent). Jon searches with Liz for Odie while the neighborhood animals blame Garfield for locking Odie out and making him run away the night before while Garfield states that he only was protecting his turf and never wanted Odie to run off. Meanwhile, Chapman and his assistant Wendell (Evan Arnold) find a notice Mrs. Baker created of Odie and, recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy's own.

When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City, Garfield sets out to rescue Odie. Jon discovers Garfield missing so Jon and Liz start searching. Garfield gets into the broadcast tower via the air vents but he is blown around violently. Garfield finds Odie locked in a room; Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric discharge that forces him to perform tricks.

Chapman heads for the train station with Garfield in close pursuit. However, an animal control officer catches Garfield mistaking him as a runaway. Mrs. Baker tells Jon that Chapman took Odie, making him believe Garfield was taken by Chapman too and he and Liz race to Telegraph Tower and then to the train station, after learning Chapman has left. Garfield is released from the pound by Chapman's abandoned feline star, Persnikitty (voice of Alan Cumming), who is really named Sir Roland. Chapman boards a New York-bound train, with Odie in the luggage car. Garfield arrives only to see the train depart. Garfield sneaks into the train system control room and frantically switches the tracks, leading to an impending train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency control and causes Chapman/Odie's train to return to the station. Garfield frees Odie and they exit the train. However, Chapman chases them. Chapman threatens Odie with the shock collar, but is stopped by Garfield's friends and animals from the pound, led by Sir Roland. They swarm and attack Chapman, allowing Odie and Garfield to escape.

The shock collar is now on Chapman who gets shocked. Jon and Liz arrive to reclaim the animals and find Chapman disoriented. Jon punches Chapman in the face for stealing "both" his pets, and leaves with Liz and the two animals. Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as for abducting Odie. Garfield regains the respect of his animal friends as a hero. Back at home, Liz and Jon form a relationship, and Garfield learned his lesson about friendship.

Cast

Live action actors

  • Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's and Odie's owner.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, Garfield's vet, who became Jon's girlfriend at the end.
  • Stephen Tobolowsky as Happy Chapman, a local television host, and his brother Walter J. Chapman.
  • Evan Arnold as Wendell, Happy's butler
  • Mark Christopher Lawrence as Christopher Mello
  • Eve Brent as Mrs. Baker
  • Juliette Goglia as Little Girl
  • Evan Helmuth as Steward
  • Joe Bays as Raccoon Lodge Member
  • Leyna Nguyen as News Reporter
  • Joe Ochman as Engineer
  • Rufus Gifford as Dog Owner #1

Garfield creator Jim Davis appeared as an uncredited drunken convention attendee, but his role was cut from the final version of the film.

Voice actors

  • Bill Murray as Garfield, Jon's overweight, lethargic, and free-spirited orange cat.
  • Alan Cumming as Persnikitty (he renames himself "Sir Roland"), an irascible cat.
  • Nick Cannon as Louis, a friendly mouse.
  • David Eigenberg as Nermal, Garfield's friend.
  • Brad Garrett as Luca, a temperamental Doberman Pinscher who guards the house next door to Garfield.
  • Jimmy Kimmel as Spanky (unnamed in the film)
  • Debra Messing as Arlene, Garfield's girlfriend.
  • Richard Kind as Dad Rat
  • Debra Jo Rupp as Mom Rat
  • Wyatt Smith, Jordan Kaiser and Alyson Stoner as unnamed kid rats – Kid Rat No. 1, Kid Rat No. 2 and Kid Rat No. 3 respectively

Production

The film was directed by Peter Hewitt, produced by Davis Entertainment for 20th Century Fox, and stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield.

Filming was at several locations including Los Angeles Union Station with Amtrak locomotives and rolling stock being featured in numerous scenes. Chuck E. Cheese's is mentioned in the film when Garfield leaves to go to the vetwhile Wendy's was mentioned and shown numerous times throughout the film.

Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, and Adam Sandler were considered for the role of Jon but all three of them were considered too expensive. Jennifer Garner was considered for the role of Liz, and Brad Dourif and Michael Ironside were considered to play Happy Chapman. Ironside was cast, but he dropped out after one day because of scheduling conflicts with Reno 911.

Jack Nicholson was offered the role of Garfield.[2]

According to Jim Davis, Murray recorded his dialogue in his apartment in New York City and on the set of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in Greece.[2]

Release

The film was released in theaters on June 11, 2004 by 20th Century Fox (which was 8 days before Garfield's 26th anniversary). In theaters, it included an Ice Ageshort film, Gone Nutty.

Home media

Garfield: The Movie was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on VHS and DVD on October 19, 2004.[citation needed] The special features includes a behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and the Baha Men music video "Holla!". The film was released on a 3-disc Blu-ray on October 11, 2011.[citation needed]. The 3D version was released on April 16, 2013.

Music

Baha Men performed the song "Holla!" for the film and its soundtrack. The music video premiered in early summer 2004 and featured clips from the film and gags showing obvious references to the Garfield franchise (such as lasagnajokes).

Reception

Critical reception

Garfield: The Movie received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 15% based on 136 reviews with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what's left is a simplistic kiddie movie."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

However, Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review, rating it a three out of four stars saying the movie was "charming".[6]

Murray said in an interview with GQ that he was confused when he agreed to play the voice of Garfield for the film.[7]

In Zombieland, when Bill Murray (playing himself) is shot he is asked if he had any regrets before dying. He responds by saying "Garfield, maybe."

Box office

Despite the negative reviews, Garfield: The Movie was considered a financial success.

Opening weekend gross US$ 21,727,611
US & Canada US$ 75,369,589
Rest of world US$ 125,434,945
Worldwide US$ 200,804,534

Sequel

A sequel, titled Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released on June 16, 2006 in North America.

Trivia

Richard Kind and Brad Garrett previously co-starred in the 1998 Pixar film A Bug's Life.

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