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</script></div>{/googleAds}Is the success of Garfield: The Movie preordained by its tagline that boasts "it ain't The Cat in the Hat?" Does this mean it won't reach the tremendous commercial success that the Dr. Seuss mainstay achieved, or is it declaring itself a better movie than what many voted as the worst movie of 2003? Either way it seems the film's makers knew what they had on their hands way back when they first cranked up the promotional machine.

Although Garfield: The Movie is fraught with numerous inadequacies including a hollow plot, witless dialogue and inept direction, the film suffers from a flaw with far more damaging significance. From the opening scenes we notice that the titular character isn't rendered properly. Garfield doesn't look like Garfield. Because of the tremendous commercial success of the comic strip and the incessant deluge of coffee mugs, posters and lunch boxes sporting the feline's flabby physique, we all know that Garfield is an orange cat with black stripes and heavily lidded bug-eyes. Right? The cgi version of Garfield in the movie fails to capture this familiarity, leaving us with a stripeless, yellow virtual furball that looks more like my own tabby named Michigan. Come to think of it, he kind of acts like Michigan as well... but I digress.

Bill Murray follows his Oscar-nominated performance in last year's critical darling, Lost in Translation by lending his talent as the voice of Garfield. A great casting move here as I can hardly think of anyone more suited for the lazy, lethargic lasagna eater. Murray's apathetic droll is spot on. Despite the lack of amusing material, he is mostly successful, especially when he breaks into his lounge lizard act, which features the lively ditty New Dog State of Mind, a version of Billy Joel's New York State of Mind.

Garfield is fat and contented living the lazy life with his goofball owner Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer). That is, until Jon, hoping to impress a cute-as-a-button veterinarian (Jennifer Love Hewitt), agrees to take in a homeless puppy named Odie, which disrupts Garfield's little patch of heaven.

Following a twenty-minute sequence of creative but mean-spirited insults hurled at Odie, Garfield locks Odie out of the house only to later feel badly when an evil TV-show host (Stephen Tobolowsky), sees Odie's dancing talents as his ticket to fame and fortune.

The remainder of the movie is filled with cornball antics and slapstick physical comedy as Garfield gathers the neighborhood pets and sets out on a mission to rescue Odie. Children will undoubtedly enjoy their Garfield experience, but more in a The Country Bears manner rather than Holes or Shrek. Whereas the latter two films entertained with their smart inspiration and creative storytelling, Garfield uses dimwitted dialogue and absurd chase scenes to disguise the fact that there's really not much there.

To say that Garfield: The Movie is not a good movie is as profound a statement as declaring that Jerry Rice was a good football player. But unlike Jerry Rice, Garfield: The Movie failed to take advantage of the fact that no one expected it to be any good in the first place. Some of Hollywood's most pleasant surprises come from the least expected places, but in the case of Garfield: The Movie, low expectations result in even lower results.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen 1.85:1; Full Screen 1.33:1.

Subtitles: English, Spanish.

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; scene access; interactive menus; audio commentary; trailer.

* Commentaries: with director Peter Hewitt and producer John Davis as they primarily discuss, among other items, the film's special effects and the difficulties that had to be overcome while acting with an entity that isn't there.
* Sneak Peak:
o Robots.
* Featurettes:
+ Because of Winn-Dixie.
* Music Video: Holla! by the Baha Men.

Number of discs: 1