Home World Action-packed ‘The Garfield Movie’ bridges generation gap – The Mercury News

Action-packed ‘The Garfield Movie’ bridges generation gap – The Mercury News


By Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

Since 1978, cartoonist Jim Davis has explored the quotidian dramas of pet ownership via the daily travails of beleaguered Jon Arbuckle, his eager dog Odie, and the titular tubby orange tabby, Garfield. If the comic strip (the most widely syndicated in the world) is the weekly sitcom version of their story, then “The Garfield Movie,” the latest effort to bring Garfield to the big screen, is the oversized action-adventure film, replete with references and comparisons to Tom Cruise.

Those Cruise-inspired Easter eggs are laid not necessarily for kids, but the adults who have accompanied them to the theater, such as when the score references “Mission: Impossible” while an ox named Otto, voiced by Ving Rhames (who plays Cruise’s techie Luther in the action franchise), lays out the plan for a heist. Later, a triumphant climax featuring airborne food delivery drones offers the chance for a bit of the “Top Gun” theme while Garfield (Chris Pratt) brags that he does his own stunts, “just like Tom Cruise.”

The line is a bit of overemphasis that this is the big, thrilling version of Garfield, not a “Jeanne Dielman”-style study of domestic life. In fact, after a quick framing device that shows us Garfield’s heartstring-tugging history as a starving stray kitten who encounters Jon at an Italian restaurant, the film speeds through a quick montage of our favorite Garfield tropes: he loves lasagna, hates Mondays, torments Jon and manipulates Odie.

We know him, we love him — Garfield’s unique characteristics have been printed on coffee mugs for years — and once that’s out of the way, onto the high-stakes and highly contrived plot. Garfield and Odie are kidnapped by a couple of thuggish pups, Nolan (Bowen Yang) and Roland (Brett Goldstein), who are working for a Persian cat named Jinx (Hannah Waddingham). She wants them to collaborate with Garfield’s deadbeat dad Vic (Samuel L. Jackson) on a milk heist as revenge for the time she did in the pound after a scheme she and Vic pulled.

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