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Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties

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For those keeping score at home, the Garfield movies cast the lasagna-munching misanthrope as an anthropomorphized computer-animated talking cat. His foil Odie, meanwhile, is a non-anthropomorphized, non-talking, non-animated canine played by a real dog and Garfield's anthropomorphized animal compatriots are played by real, non-animated animals, but voiced by prominent (human) character actors. The series' distracting, inexplicable mish-mash of live action and animation, genuine animals, and cartoon replications remains a mindfuck of a conceit, but the dismal first Garfield at least gave audiences plenty of time to get acclimated to its multiple layers of miscalculation. It also set the bar so low that a sequel almost couldn't almost help but clear it.


Accordingly, the second Garfield is both bigger and better. In keeping with time-honored lazy-sequel tradition, the action has been moved to the postcard-ready environs of a foreign land (England), where Garfield and a regal lookalike (voiced by Tim Curry) switch places and thwart an evil plot by scheming baddie Billy Connolly, whose presence screams "John Cleese wanted too much money."

As in the first film, Garfield spends way too much time boogying to the music of the Black-Eyed Peas, and the slang, catch-phrases, and pop-culture references here all passed their expiration date long ago. In keeping with the refined comic sensibility of its core demographic in the under-5 set, the comic possibilities posed by the gastrointestinal system and crotch and ass-biting are explored extensively, with Connolly taking the brunt of the abuse. Yet Two Kitties marks a considerable improvement over its predecessor. It's faster paced and the filmmakers wisely shift the focus away from bland owner Breckin Meyer and onto a menagerie of chattering animals. After a dreadful first entry, Two Kitties elevates the Garfield series almost to the level of mediocrity.