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In Theaters


Home Release Date




Emily Tsiao

Movie Review

You may be familiar with Garfield, the lovable orange tabby (created by cartoonist Jim Davis) with a hatred for Mondays and penchant for food—especially lasagna.

Garfield thinks his life is pretty good. He was adopted off the street by Jon when he was just a kitten. Shortly after that, Jon also took in Odie, Garfield’s ever-loyal canine sidekick. And the trio has been living in suburban bliss ever since.

But then, on a dark and stormy night, Garfield and Odie are kidnapped. They’re used as bait by a street cat named Jinx to lure Garfield’s wayward dad, Vic, out of hiding.

Turns out that before Garfield came into the picture, Vic and Jinx used to run in the same crew—before Vic abandoned Jinx during a heist, allowing her to get sent to the pound.

Jinx says she doesn’t want revenge, just compensation—one quart of milk for every day she was stuck behind bars. And she’s giving Vic 72 hours to make good … or else.

Garfield doesn’t want anything to do with Vic. As far as he’s concerned, the guy abandoned him, only to show up years later and pull him into a life of crime.

Unfortunately, Jinx’s threat extends to Garfield and Odie as well. So the father and son will have to put aside their differences and learn to work together … or else.

Man, this sure is starting to feel like a Monday.

Positive Elements

[Note: Spoilers are contained in this section.]

As seen from Garfield’s perspective, it really does seem as if Vic abandoned him as a kitten. He told Garfield he’d be right back, but then he wasn’t, and Garfield was deeply hurt by his father’s actions.

However, as the film progresses, Garfield learns the truth. The night Vic “disappeared,” he was actually just trying to find food for his son—resorting to digging in the trash—but he was waylaid by a human who didn’t want the cat picking through the garbage.

Vic eventually found a tiny morsel to feed his hungry child, but by the time he returned, Garfield had already been discovered by Jon. And knowing Jon could give Garfield a better, safer life, Vic let Jon take the kitten away.

Naturally, Garfield wonders why Vic didn’t visit—and Vic owns up to feeling ashamed. However, while Vic never knocked on the front door, he always kept an eye on his son, sitting in an old oak tree across from Garfield’s house that allowed him to watch the tabby grow up.

Later on, we’re led to question Vic’s motives once again when he appears to ditch Garfield and Odie to save his own neck. However, once again, Vic proves he was watching out for his son. He suspected that Jinx would betray them (which she does). And since he had seen Garfield’s collar, he knew that if Garfield and Odie were caught, the pound would call Jon to rescue them.

After all these events take place, Garfield and Vic manage to make peace with each other. Vic apologizes for his bad decisions; Garfield forgives him. And Garfield is excited by the prospect of finally having his dad in his life.

Jon is a kind and caring pet owner, and it’s clear that Odie and Garfield love him, too. Garfield sometimes takes advantage of Odie and Jon, but he also finds ways to demonstrate that he cares about them.

The two dogs who work for Jinx eventually leave her service, refusing to hurt Garfield or Vic after witnessing the father and son make peace with each other. They later turn Jinx in for her crimes, and she’s given community service as a punishment.

A cow, mistreated by her human owners, is freed by her paramour, with Garfield’s help.

Spiritual Elements

After losing consciousness, Garfield wakes and wonders if he’s dead. He asks if a nearby silhouette is an angel, stating he’s ready to go to the “all-you-can-eat-buffet in the sky.”

Jinx wears a collar that glows different colors with her mood, though this appears to be temperature based, like a mood ring, not magical. Garfield also manages to breath fire after consuming a large amount of hot sauce—but again, this is animation magic, not actual magic.

Sexual Content

A steer and heifer are in love. They smooch in one scene before the female cow jumps into the arms of the male, pushing him offscreen. A television program shows human characters kiss. Jon is told to get on dating apps, including Tinder. Two cats scratch their rear ends.

We briefly glimpse two male dogs dancing, with one lifting the other into the air above his head, Dirty Dancing style. And in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, two men are seen taking a photo together in a cardboard cutout at a tourist attraction.

Violent Content

Jinx eats one of her minions (a bird), and we don’t see the character again. Another bird is electrocuted by a charged fence, but it is still alive, albeit burnt to a crisp.

Bad guys knock characters out, tie them up and issue threats. Jinx plots to throw Vic off a bridge to his death. Many dogs and cats wind up taking that perilous plunge, but none are injured thanks to safety nets, ropes and one dog’s parachute-like skin.

Garfield and other characters are knocked around in mostly slapstick-humor stunts. But there are a few perilous moments (though nobody is harmed). Some cats are nearly hit by cars when they cross the street. We see a flattened possum, which characters call “roadkill,” but it turns out the creature is just pretending to be dead.

Crude or Profane Language

A single use of the British profanity “bloody.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Jinx drinks milk from a martini glass.

Other Negative Elements

Vic is a criminal—or at least he was. He, Jinx and other dogs and cats used to steal milk from local dairy farms. And, against their will, Garfield and Odie are pulled into this life of crime when Jinx threatens them all. They formulate a plan to steal milk from a dairy farm.

Garfield is incredibly gluttonous and lazy. He sometimes takes advantage of Odie and Jon (several jokes pertain to Garfield maxing out Jon’s credit card). We’re told that Garfield is overweight, though he doesn’t really look it. It’s played for humor, but some of the resulting fat jokes can be insensitive.

A cat is grossed out when she sees a dog remove a cell phone from between the folds of his skin. (The excess skin is due to the dog’s breed, not because he’s overweight.) Waves of stench emanate from a stray cat. A cat falls into manure. Garfield accidentally ingests bird excrement.

Characters lie and scheme. There is a joke about depression. Jinx is mean to her canine minions. There are one or two jump scares. Garfield is frightened by a spider-infested blanket. Odie seems to enjoy it when Garfield gets a taste of his own medicine.


The Garfield Movie is light. It’s silly. It’s … just a little hard to follow for younger kiddos.

The film is short, given the amount of story we get. And fast-talking characters might make it difficult for some children to follow the story. But families won’t find too much obvious content here besides a single use of the British profanity “bloody.” And two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them moments perhaps imply same-gender relationships.

Garfield, Odie and Vic are frequently put into danger—but they always manage to scrape by. And while there are a few jokes about Garfield’s weight, the film doesn’t stray too far from anything you might read in Jim Davis’ Garfield comic strip.

It’s a fun, new take on the orange tabby, and one with a touching tale about a father and son reunited. And one—like virtually everything else these days—with some very subtle nods to the progressive social mores of our day.

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Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.