By: Russ Matthews

He looks pretty good for being 45 years old and having a solid diet of the four basic food groups: lasagna, lasagna, lasagna, and lasagna.

Garfield (Chris Pratt) has graced newspapers, cinemas, and toy stores and has been a window ornament in cars worldwide. As one of the world’s most recognised cats, it is no wonder that he would get a new animated franchise to honour his four decades of lounging around in our lives.

This unlikely adventure takes audiences back to the origins of his life with Odie the beagle and their owner, Jon Arbuckle (Nicholas Hoult). As he does all he can to avoid Mondays and any form of exercise and finds new levels of leisure, the orange cat is suddenly confronted by his past as he is reintroduced to his long-lost father, Vic (Samuel L. Jackson). Their sudden family reunion is tainted by the unexpected need for his father to rectify a wrong with one of his former feline friends, the Persian cat – Vinx (Hannah Waddingham). The two cats and a friendly beagle must reacquaint themselves with one another as they work with Odie to fulfil the order from the criminal kitty who needs them to deliver a milk order that would rub any cat the wrong way. Along the way, they must befriend a wise bull named Otto (Ving Rhames) to stay ahead of dairy security officer Marge (Cecily Strong) as they hope to achieve their mission and get home to their life of lasagna and leisure.

When reviewing a film about a lazy, pasta-eating cat, one must manage expectations. To expect this to be groundbreaking cinema might be a bit of a stretch. Also, considering that there is little for families to enjoy in cinemas, The Garfield Movie might be the best snack food option for parents for the season. The tone goes from ridiculous to sentimental and back to farcical as if the source material is based on a classic cartoon, which, of course, it is. A consideration as you continue with this review and realise that the film will do exactly what it is meant to do, entertain families with the fun, ridiculous actions of the cat with little motivation to do much with his life except eat his favourite Italian food and spend time with his owner. Chris Pratt and the rest of the cast come along for the ride to complement this tale of friendship, family and food.

What should parents know about The Garfield Movie? Suppose your children loved the antics of the Super Mario Brothers or liked the humour delivered by the Minions. In that case, this film will provide laughs and a hankering for Italian food afterwards. Most of the laughs for parents will fly over the heads of the little ones and will provide something for the adults in the audience. There is little to object to outside the gluttonous tendencies of this legendary cat. The discussion opportunities after the film include the three Fs of family, friendship and forgiveness.


Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

All images: Movie stills

About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.