The Garfield Movie review: "Have the writers ever seen an actual Garfield comic strip?"

The Garfield Movie
(Image: © Sony)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

"You will not be disappointed!" promises Pratt at the onset. We categorically beg to differ...

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The lasagna-loving star of a billion funny pages has daddy issues in The Garfield Movie, an all-toon comeback for Jim Davis’ idle feline that marks his first big-screen appearance since 2006. With a peppy Chris Pratt taking over vocals from Bill Murray and a caper plot redolent of the Mission: Impossible franchise, it’s an ostensibly fresh chapter for the iconic tabby, who’s been around for nearly half a century. 

Mark Dindal’s (The Emperor’s New Groove) animation, alas, stumbles at the same hurdle that has scuppered previous attempts to bring Garfield to the big screen: namely, the impracticality of crafting a satisfying full-length feature around a self-centered sourpuss who rarely requires more than three panels to get his point across.

Dindal’s answer is to give him a sudsy backstory involving an errant dad (Samuel L. Jackson) who abandoned him as a kitten to be raised by exploitable cartoonist Jon (Nicholas Hoult). The story that follows sees father and son reluctantly reunited at the behest of Jinx (The Fall Guy’s Hannah Waddingham), a vengeful Persian who demands they pilfer milk from an impregnable dairy farm.

The heist they hatch has a whiff of the Chicken Runs about it, with some Home on the Range thrown in too thanks to the grumpy bull (Ving Rhames) they inveigle into assisting them. 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.

The Garfield Movie is in US theaters and UK cinemas on May 24. 

For what else is out this year, here's our guides to all the upcoming movies and 2024 movie release dates to add to your planner.

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.