Film reviews and more since 2009

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) review

Dir. Tim Hill

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★★

There was something about mid-aughts sequels to children’s movies that couldn’t resist the urge to up the ante by sending its cast overseas. Consider Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, which transplanted the babies to the City of Love because Tommy Pickles’ dad had to repair a Reptar ride at a local amusement park. Four years after that movie, we got Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, a lackluster follow-up that whisks its characters away to London for shenanigans that just aren’t as fun nor as funny as they were in the first film.

Garfield: The Movie shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but it was made enjoyable thanks to its focus on Garfield’s sarcastic attitude and undeniable cuteness. In contrast, this sequel is flooded with characters both human and animal, and the introduction of a cat who is identical to Garfield limits the comic strip cat’s screentime, disappointingly so.

Just as Jon (Breckin Meyer), Garfield’s owner, is planning to propose to his veterinarian girlfriend Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), she slaps him with the news that she’s going to London on business. So, off they go, initially dropping Garfield and their dog Odie of at the kennel only for them to escape fast enough that the two are able to climb back into Jon’s vehicle and nestle in his luggage. After getting lost in London, they realize that Carlyle Castle, in the English countryside, is run by Prince XII (voiced by Tim Curry), the late Lady Carlyle’s cat who bears a strong resemblance to Garfield.

Being that the Prince’s English accent is only noticeable to we, the viewer, and the other animals, the humans are none the wiser. Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly) isn’t too keen on a cat receiving the royal treatment. His efforts to dispose of the Prince result in Garfield and the pampered pet swapping places, with Garfield being mistaken for the Prince and Jon and Liz assuming the Prince is Garfield.

What follows is a laundry list of silly setpieces that simultaneously feel half-baked yet overstay their welcome. The London animals we meet, including a bulldog voiced by Bob Hoskins, a Belgian hare voiced by Rhys Ifans, and a goose voiced by Sharon Osbourne, don’t leave the impact that the pets in Garfield’s cul-de-sac did. There’s far too many, and they end up getting lost in a movie that’s a breathlessly paced 70-minutes, furthered dampened by the most touristic b-roll shots of London this side of a kitschy travelogue.

Garfield: The Movie probably shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but it understood the simplistic appeal of its main character and made a film no more complicated than your basic Saturday morning comic strip. By going bigger, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties feels undone by an abundance of characters, with its main quartet of Garfield, Odie, Jon, and Liz being overshadowed. If the first film caught lighting in a bottle, this sequel shatters the glass in an abrupt and disheartening way.

NOTE: As of this writing, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is available to stream on Disney+.

My review of Garfield: The Movie (2004)
My review of The Garfield Movie (2024)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly, and Ian Abercrombie. Voiced by: Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans, Vinnie Jones, Greg Ellis, and Sharon Osbourne. Directed by: Tim Hill.

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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