It’s the big moment for Garfield’s loving owner, Jon. He’s asking his sweetheart, Liz, to marry him and has turned his house into a romantic haven fit for such an occasion—candles, soft music and rose petals. But Liz arrives with an announcement of her own: She’s heading to England the next day on a once-in-a-lifetime business trip. With the moment deflated, Jon passes on popping the question … but decides to surprise his girl by showing up at her hotel in London.
Meanwhile, Garfield and Odie manage a surprise of their own by sneaking their way into Jon’s luggage. And after slipping out of their hotel room, Garfield gets mistaken for Prince, a look-alike royal cat who has recently been appointed heir of the Carlisle castle. The two felines end up unintentionally trading places, which suits Garfield just fine. After all, what else could a fat, self-indulgent cat ask for but an entire palace full of attendants granting his every wish and whim?
What Garfield probably didn’t have in mind, however, was a royal relative named Lord Dargis bent on getting rid of Prince to claim the estate for himself. Dargis plans to demolish the castle’s barnyard area (and all its animals) to make way for a series of condominiums, shopping plazas and parking lots.
Garfield is best known for being a lazy glutton whose only concerns are his own pampering—and for most of this movie, he stays true to those traits. But when the orange fur ball realizes how much he’s taken Jon for granted, he admits, “I’ve been such a stupid, selfish cat,” and vows to return to his friend. In the process, he also forgives a couple of farm animals for some harsh words and helps them return the estate to its rightful owner. The farm animals admit to being dishonest with Garfield.
Jon’s crazy about his pets and goes out of his way to secure their safety. He also makes a courageous move to save a handful of people, including Liz.
Once given command over the castle estate, Prince promises the farm animals a safe haven, adding that he will rule his kingdom “with wisdom and valor.” He commends both Jon and Odie in front of Garfield. He thanks the pooch (whom he initially believes to be just a dumb dog), telling him, “You are a hero and a gentleman.” Prince’s butler, Smithee, prevents Dargis from shooting farm animals.
Strictly silly stuff. Lord Dargis comments, “It’s almost as if [Prince’s] spirit was still roaming the grounds.” Garfield says of the love-struck Jon, “He’s under [Liz’s] spell.” The cat calls lasagna “food of the gods.”
A completely inappropriate and out-of-place Black Eyed Peas song includes the lyrics “Shake it, girl,” “Let’s get it on” and “Just pump it.” Liz shows quite a bit of cleavage in some of her outfits, and another woman follows suit. Jon and Liz kiss twice.
Along with hitting on two women (both of whom are already spoken for), Dargis comments to a female investor that hanging out in a room with fresh paint may lead to her “salsa dancing in [her] knickers.” A museum room is filled with Romanesque statues of bare-breasted women. A newspaper headline mentions a “love child.”
Most of the slapstick-style violence revolves around the conniving Dargis, who tumbles down a flight of stairs, gets whacked in the face by a shield, is hit in the head by a skeet-shooting disc, has his finger caught in a mousetrap, and is (repeatedly) bitten in the front and backside by dogs. During less comical scenes, the Englishman aims a gun at two animals and holds various characters captive with both a crossbow and a flintlock pistol. Jon, in turn, takes possession of the crossbow from Dargis and points it at him. The cat-lover eventually knocks out the villain with a punch.
The conniving Dargis kidnaps Prince and tosses him in a stream. He later throws Garfield into a castle prison cell and speaks of his plans to kill both cats (along with all the farm animals). Dargis also roughs up an estate executor upon receiving some unexpected news.
As for the others, Garfield creates some chaos when he slides around the castle’s museum, breaking a roomful of valuable items. Prince falls several stories out of a hotel window, and then jumps onto a couple of moving vehicles (on one of those instances, he falls hard onto a boat). A parrot is sucked up into a kitchen exhaust fan and later gets pillow-whacked by the pair of cats.
God’s name gets misused a handful of times, along with about a half-dozen utterances of “good lord” and one of “crikey.” Characters use the phrase, “What the devil …” In addition to imitable words such as “butt,” “stupid” and “fart,” a steady stream of name-calling includes “moron,” “doofus” and “poo-poo.” A bulldog tells his fellow animals, “Don’t get your knickers in a twist.”
When the farm animals think Prince (who’s actually Garfield) is acting strange, one declares that he’s “on the catnip again.” A ferret who’s had too much cooking sherry acts drunk. In preparation for asking Liz to marry him, Jon pours red wine into a decanter. Dargis twice fills glasses with liquor. Revelers at a pub raise pints of beer during a televised rugby match.
Garfield burps, passes gas and shakes his backside at others, and jokes made involve all three. True to his comic-strip character, he’s cruel to Odie. Not only does he repeatedly knock over the dimwitted dog (once hitting him in the face with a turkey drumstick), he tells him to hide beneath the wheel of a car. He speaks of eating his canine friend’s liver, à la Silence of the Lambs‘ Hannibal Lecter. Odie urinates on a palace guard’s foot.
For the second time, Garfield has jumped off newspaper pages and onto theater screens. And with A Tail of Two Kitties, comic-strip cat-lovers will likely be no more impressed or disappointed than they were with Garfield: The Movie.
Bill Murray is once again spot-on in capturing the sass and Napoleonic ego of Garfield. Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt make a cute head-over-heels couple. And, um, the landscaping of the Carlisle estate is impeccable. How’s that for cooking up some kind words for this otherwise unmemorable film?
Granted, kids who watch this film may not be quite as quick as I to forget about Garfield’s exaggerated antics during his castle romp. But they’ll also be hanging on to the film’s name-calling, interjections of God’s name and mild potty humor. And why in the world did the filmmakers decide to include a risqué Black Eyed Peas song—during a lasagna-making scene, of all things? Still, I’ll end with an upside. To the credit of those same behind-the-scenes folks, Garfield v. 2.0 does manage to replace the original film’s sadistic villain with a more innocuous stuffed shirt.