The Garfield Movie review: An overly cautious bad case of the Mondays

The Garfield Movie is in theaters May 24, but is it worth watching on the big screen?
Garfield - voice by Chris Pratt © 2023 Project G Productions, LLC
Garfield - voice by Chris Pratt © 2023 Project G Productions, LLC /

Admittedly, I have never been a huge Garfield cartoons. The original animated series, Garfield and Friends, premiered before my time in 1988. I did watch the 2004 live-action comedy, Garfield: The Movie, but thought it was just okay, it would have worked better if it had been an animated feature. I did enjoy a few of the movie specials -- Garfield Gets a Life is a favorite. But what I love the most are the Garfield comics. And the pages remain undefeated.

I loved reading the comic strips and would often buy or check out Garfield books at the library. There’s no denying that Garfield’s one-liners are not only catchy and fun but also relatable. I mean, who doesn’t hate Mondays? And loves lasagna? Yes, please! Cat people, in particular, can relate to the orange tabby cat and, of course, Jon Arbuckle. All of this to say, I went into the theater with an open mind and was excited to check out this new take on the lasagna-loving feline. Not to mention, I went with my kids who are already fans of Garfield and Odie (they love watching the cartoons on Peacock and Netflix). 

Unfortunately, The Garfield Movie feels like a long, tiring Monday. Parents, my advice is to bribe your kiddos to watch something else if you want to save yourself, your time, and your money. But if you decide to take your little one to watch the movie, rest assured that they will probably enjoy it. 

Odie and Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) in THE GARFIELD MOVIE.
Odie and Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) in THE GARFIELD MOVIE. © 2023 Project G Productions, LLC /

The good, the bad, and the Mondays 

My biggest problem with The Garfield Movie is that it pulls its punches. Simply put, the movie plays it too safe. Instead of taking risks by giving us the grumpy, sarcastic, witty orange cat from the books (and the original animated series), we get a heavily toned-down version voiced by Chris Pratt. You know who would have been amazing as Garfield? Keanu Reeves or Nick Offerman. This isn’t hate towards Pratt, it’s just not a good voice match at all.

When it comes to animated movies, studios need to throw in jokes for the parents. I'm talking lines and situations that only adults would understand and relate to, but nothing too naughty that kids will catch on. There’s an unwritten rule that children's shows and movies need to draw the parents in, too. Well, The Garfield Movie ignores this rule completely. 

The Garfield Movie is as safe as it gets, which is good news for parents of young children. The target audience, in my opinion, are kids ages 6 to 10 years old. Anyone under or over will likely be bored out of their mind (along with you). It’s a shame because so many characters are featured, yet we grow to care for none. We shouldn't have to walk out of a Garfield movie wishing we had seen more of Garfield.

One thing I did love, however, is Cecily Strong’s character Marge, a security guard who takes her job a little too seriously. Marge is the only interesting character, and one we need a spin-off about because I would love to know her villain origin story. Other than Strong's Marge, I would also like to praise the animation. Incredible job in that field. Baby Garfield is adorable, and Odie's expressions are everything.

In addition to Pratt and Strong, The Garfield Movie stars (and wastes the talents of) Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, and others. The movie opens in theaters on Friday, May 24 -- but I would wait for the streaming release if I were you, so you can put it on for the kids and go relax with a nice slice of lasagna.

C. On a scale of Mondays to Sundays (the former being the worst), The Garfield Movie is a solid Monday. . Instead of showing us why Garfield hates Mondays, The Garfield Movie takes us on the most boring journey that feels like a long, never-ending Monday. . The Garfield Movie. The Garfield Movie grade

Summer 2024 Family Film Preview: Garfield, Despicable Me 4, and more. Summer 2024 Family Film Preview: Garfield, Despicable Me 4, and more. dark. Next