Critics Have Seen The Garfield Movie, And They’re Calling The Chris Pratt Film As Lazy As The Cat Himself (2024)

Critics Have Seen The Garfield Movie, And They’re Calling The Chris Pratt Film As Lazy As The Cat Himself (1)

Garfield has gotten a lot of love over the years since Jim Davis introduced the orange tabby in comic strip form back in the 1970s. Nearly two dozen series, movies and specials have starred the Monday-averse feline, though we haven’t seen him on the big screen in over a decade. That’s about to change as Chris Pratt's voice will bring Garfield to life in the upcoming flick The Garfield Movie, set to hit the 2024 movie release calendar on May 24. Critics have already seen the animated comedy, and they have some strong thoughts about the writers’ perceived lack of effort.

In The Garfield Movie, the titular character is reunited with his long-lost father Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), joining him on a high-stakes adventure. Several other recognizable names join Chris Pratt and Jackson, including Hannah Waddingham, Bowen Yang, Snoop Dogg and Nicholas Hoult as Jon Arbuckle. In CinemaBlend’s review of The Garfield Movie, Eric Eisenberg notes an “embarrassing” lack of effort and says the film can best be summed up as nothing more than “101 minutes of animation.” He rates the movie 2 stars out of 5, writing:

There are familiar character designs and gags about copious consumption of Italian food, but that’s where any attempt at distinction ends, as it’s otherwise indistinguishable from any other pet-centric big screen adventure (a simple animation style change could instantly transform it into The Secret Life Of Pets 3). It doesn’t utilize what is special or unique about its titular character; instead, the energy suggests that the screenwriters spent months trying to come up with a script, came up with nothing in all that time, and then spent the night before a deadline just filling pages with words.

Neil Smith of GamesRadar also rates it 2 out of 5 stars, pointing out how impractical it is that this character keeps getting chosen for full-length features, when the lazy cat rarely needs more than three panels to make his point. Smith continues:

The hectic plot may keep younger minds from wandering. Long before the film reaches its action-packed, train-based climax, however, adults will be questioning if its three writers have so much as seen an actual Garfield comic strip, given how removed their work feels from its activity-averse inspiration.

Charlie Ridgely of ComicBook.com writes that the writers followed their inspiration’s lead in the lazy department, providing the bare minimum in humor for their young audience. Kids deserve better, Ridgely says, also rating The Garfield Movie 2 out of 5 stars. In the critic’s words:

It's a story that feels more like a bunch of separate ideas loosely tied together by a cat from a comic strip than an actual plot for a movie, but The Garfield Movie is a film that doesn't seem concerned with such things. Plot and character development take a back seat to recycled jokes and product placement. Seriously, there are enough obvious ads that you could mistake certain segments for outright commercials. That is all somehow made even nastier by the fact that this is an animated film geared towards kids. It's more important for them to know just how fast they can order something on the Walmart app than watch a story that actually has something to say about friendship or how to treat one another.

Frank Scheck of THR agrees both kids and parents have been failed by this animated feature, which feels much longer than its 101-minute runtime. The critic, like many others, questions why the filmmakers thought the audience wants to watch the character known for laziness engage in Mission: Impossible-style stunts. Scheck writes:

None of these meta references will be entertaining for the very young target audience, nor are they amusing for their adult chaperones. It’s indicative of the laziness and cynicism permeating this enterprise, which sacrifices the character’s subversive humor in favor of routine animated hijinks.

William Bibbiani of The Wrap, meanwhile, calls The Garfield Movie “the first halfway decent movie” to come from the comic strip. That’s admittedly not the strongest of praise, but while the film isn’t especially funny, the critic says it’s big on heart:

What’s surprising about The Garfield Movie is that although it’s based on a pretty cynical comic strip, its highlights are all sentimental. The flashbacks to Garfield’s kittenhood are shameless gut punches of maudlin cutesiness, but eventually they tear down one’s defenses. Garfield’s relationship with his father earns real sympathy by the end. What the film lacks in hilarious jokes — there’s only a few (watch out for the used catapult salesman) — it makes up for with good nature.

The critics don’t seem to be too impressed with this effort from Mark Dindal, but if you want to head out to the theater with the kiddos to draw your own conclusions, you will be able to do so starting on Friday, May 24.

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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.

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Critics Have Seen The Garfield Movie, And They’re Calling The Chris Pratt Film As Lazy As The Cat Himself (2024)
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