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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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GARFIELD: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES

SYNOPSIS:
Garfield's mild mannered owner Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) is set to propose to his lovely girlfriend Liz Wilson (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and follows her to London, where she is speaking at a vet's convention. Garfield (voice of Bill Murray) tags along in his luggage, together with canine sidekick Odie, but things become complicated when Garfield is mistaken for Prince (voice of Tim Curry), a regal cat who has just inherited a large estate with a castle. Evil Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly), who is next in line to inherit the estate, is intent on getting rid of Prince, or the fluffy ginger cat with a spreading midriff that looks like Prince, in order to turn the castle into a money-making luxury resort.

Review by Louise Keller:
A lively sense of the ridiculous and grounding in fantasy makes the Garfield sequel chortling and fluffy fun. The welcome difference between this and the original film is that the filmmakers have opted for a fairy-tale tone, taking us straight into a make-believe environment. 'Once upon a time' is how the story begins, and there's a nicely ladled script that dishes out a case of mistaken identity in an aristocratic English setting, an incongruous bunch of talking animals and a Fawlty Tower-esque Billy Connolly with top form slapstick in the guise of the villain. This groundwork allows Bill Murray to shine with his sardonic delivery of the voice of Garfield, the lovable cartoon-strip ginger feline with attitude, an ego and generous girth.

Literary references go beyond the Dickensian-inspired title, with the story line tipping its hat to Mark Twain's The Prince and The Pauper, as Garfield ('the King of the Cul de Sac') swaps places with his identi-cat pampered personage Prince. There's also a reference to Dickens' Oliver Twist, as Garfield quips 'Please Sir, I want some more.' The best scenes are those set at the 18th century Castle Carlyle in York, a splendid estate surrounded by 10,000 acres of beautifully manicured gardens. There's great creativity in the scene inside the castle's well applied kitchen, where the barnyard animals work together as a culinary team to make Garfield his favourite dish - lasagne. A goat stomps on the tomatoes, a crow opens the bag of flour, a rabbit churns out the pasta...

The humour pelts us from all angles - slapstick physical comedy, witty lines, crass toilet humour and a healthy sense of the ridiculous. The voice cast includes Bob Hoskins as the gruff bulldog Winston ('Winnie - poo, poo, I'm his favourite puddy cat'), Tim Curry as the snobbish Garfield look-alike Prince, and Vinnie Jones as the sharp-toothed but dumb attack dog, Rommel, who is obsessed with Lord Dargis' best trousers. I especially like Ian Abercrombie as Smithee the butler, who brings reality to the aristocratic plush surroundings of velvet drapes, floor to ceiling paintings and marble statues. All the family will enjoy this smart and funny sequel. Mee-yow!



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GARFIELD: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES (G)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Bill Murray (voice), Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly, Ian Abercrombie, Roger Rees, Bob Hoskins (voice), Tim Curry (voice), Vinnie Jones (voice), Rhys Ifans (voice)

PRODUCER: John Davis

DIRECTOR: Tim Hill

SCRIPT: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow (based on comic strip by Jim Davis)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Lyons Collister

EDITOR: Peter S. Elliot

MUSIC: Christophe Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Burrough

RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Vic/Tas: September 7, 2006; Other States: September 14, 2006







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