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Film / Garfield

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A Live-Action Adaptation of the popular comic strip Garfield. It was released in 2004 by 20th Century Fox. It starred Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, Breckin Meyer as Jon, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz. It was directed by Pete Hewittnote .

The plot deals with Garfield, as lazy and fat as ever, being the extreme Jerkass and Deadpan Snarker he is. Jon Arbuckle buys a dog named Odie because his extreme crush, Liz Wilson told him to. Needless to say, Garfield doesn't like this, but then Odie gets kidnapped by TV show host "Happy Chapman" (Stephen Tobolowsky). Garfield sets out on an adventure to rescue Odie... and get back to his beloved chair! The film borrows plot elements from the 1982 animated TV special Here Comes Garfield, particuarly the subplot of Garfield having leave the comforts of home to rescue Odie.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer

The movie was followed with a sequel in 2006, called Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties. In it, Liz goes to England to make a speech, and while she, Jon, and Garfield are there, Garfield gets his life mixed up with that of an English cat named Prince (voiced by Tim Curry). But the dastardly Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly) wants the cat out of the picture so he can inherit Carlyle Castle.

Previews: Trailer

After 20th Century Fox's film rights to the character expired, reports circulated in 2016 that Garfield would have its film franchise rebooted at Alcon Entertainment. The new franchise would consist entirely of CGI-animation, rather than the live-action/CGI hybrid style of the 20th Century Fox film series, and Jim Davis, who had no involvement in Fox's franchise, will be attached as executive producer. Despite Davis ultimately selling the Garfield IP to Nickelodeon, The Garfield Movie will still be produced by Alcon and distributed by Sony Pictures. Chris Pratt is set to voice Garfield.

Following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney uploaded the duology on their streaming service Disney+ as now Disney maintains the distribution rights to both live-action Garfield films.

For the trilogy of CGI-animated films, see Garfield Animated Movie Trilogy.


  • Acrofatic: Especially in the second movie, where Garfield busts out some serious dance moves. It's a stark contrast to his usual laziness in the comics.
  • Actor Allusion: Bill Murray, well known for playing Peter Venkman in the original Ghostbusters duology, played Garfield in both movies. In The Real Ghostbusters, Lorenzo Music was the first voice of Peter Venkman,note  and was also the official "voice" of Garfield throughout both the franchise, and Lorenzo's life.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Jon was a loser in the comic strips and was not stated to be a looker. Here, he is played by Breckin Meyer who looks like a Hollywood leading man.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the comics, Odie moves in with Jon and Garfield because he originally belonged to Jon's friend and then-roommate Lyman. In the movie, Odie is given to Jon by Liz.
  • Adaptational Badass: Jon is notably less of a wimp than his comic strip counterpart, especially as in both movies' climax he punches out the Big Bad. Even so in the second movie he resorts to using a bow-and-arrow to save Liz.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job:
  • Adaptational Friendship: Most Garfield comics and adaptations depict Nermal as Garfield's biggest archrival; this movie has Nermal become one of his closest friends.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Liz in the comic strip was mostly an Ice Queen who had no interest in dating Jon (at least not at the time of this movie's release) and was not afraid to phrase it in no uncertain terms. In the movies, she's a sweetheart who doesn't hesitate to date Jon at all. She's also the one who gave Odie to Jon, while in the comics it was Lyman. The comic strip's own Liz shortly following the movies would undergo a Took a Level in Kindness and became more similar to her Hewitt-counterpart.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Nermal went from "the cutest cat in the world" who rubs it in Garfield's face to his best friend who points out the obvious.
    • Adaptational Dumbass: Nermal was more a diva Jerkass in Garfield and Friends. Here, he's as dim as Odie is, if not dimmer. For example, Arlene calls Garfield a pig for putting Odie out and Nermal interprets her remark of him being a literal swine.
  • Adaptational Species Change: A mild one concerning breed. In the comics, Odie was considered to be a beagle mix (with Garfield snidely commenting that he was also part brick). In the live-action movies, he's a wirehaired dachshund.
    • Same with Nermal. He was a gray tabby kitten in the comics, while he's a Siamese cat in the first movie.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The first film has Garfield trying to get into the building where Odie is being held by climbing through the air ducts.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The first film had a minor use of "damn" to earn itself a PG.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Used at one point in the sequel:
    Ferret: Okay everyone, I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?
    Everyone: Bad news.
    Ferret: Lord Dargis just threw Prince in the river!
    Winston: Ok, what's the good news?
    Ferret: He was in a lovely picnic basket!
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: Rommel the Rottweiler, The Dragon to Dargis in the second film, is a vicious and predatory dog who hunts down anyone Dargis trains him to.
  • Big Bad: Happy Chapman is the main villain in the first film and Lord Dargis serves the role of main antagonist in the sequel A Tale of Two Kitties.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happy Chapman's former cat leads the cats, dogs, and rats to the train station to deal with Chapman. Garfield himself leads the attack after they arrive.
  • British Royal Guards: Garfield comes across one during A Tail of Two Kitties and, after lampshading the trope ("Oh, I know these guys. They won't crack up no matter what you do?"), tries to get him to crack. He fails. Then Odie pees on the man's trousers. That gets him to crack.
    Garfield: [frantically running away as the soldier chases after him] The British are coming! The British are coming!
  • Buffoonish Tom Cat: Nermal being Adaptational Dumbass in the movie compared to other cats, while Garfield can have his moments of clumsiness, Nermal is thoroughly Garfield's friendly, goofy, dimwitted best friend and had a moment of being prone to slapstick when gullible in Garfield's milk stunt.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: In the first film, after knocking down everything in Jon's living room, a large shelf falls right on Garfield but misses him because he ends up in one of holes.
  • Car Cushion: Doubly subverted in the first movie. Garfield's so heavy he falls straight through the ceiling of the truck. Into lasagna.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Referred to at a couple of points in the second film. After being locked in a dungeon by Lord Dargis and left to die, Garfield counts out how many lives he's used up and decides he has enough left to survive his current predicament. Later, when Dargis finally realises that there are two identical cats, Garfield quips, "For those of you keeping score at home, that's eighteen lives" (which isn't entirely accurate, given his earlier statement about having lost some of them).
  • Comically Missing the Point: Nermal says this in the first movie when Garfield locks Odie outside.
    Arlene: That Garfield is such a pig!
    Nermal: Garfield's a pig?
  • Contrived Coincidence: The plot of the second film hinges on a few: Prince just happens to wash up near Jon and get mistaken for Garfield; Smithee just happens to come across Garfield and mistake him for Prince; Liz just happens to be visiting the Carlyle Estate during the climax. Any one of those things not happening would have completely derailed it.
  • Cosmic Deadline: A villainous example: in order for Carlyle Estate to pass on to him, Lord Dargis has to get rid of Prince before the lawyers arrive to sign the deeds over to Prince. He thinks he's succeeded, and has a massive Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes Prince is still alive.
  • Creator Cameo: The train conductor who yells "ALL ABOARD!!" when Happy Chapman enters his train is none other than Jim Davis.
  • Dance Party Ending: The first movie ends with Garfield celebrating his successful rescue of Odie by dancing to a reprise of James Brown's "I Feel Good".
  • Dartboard of Hate: In Tale of Two Kitties, the greedy Lord Dargis is throwing darts at a portrait of Prince (who looks exactly like Garfield) when the phone rings. As Dargis answers the phone, a rabbit places a mousetrap next to his darts. When Dargis hangs up and reaches for another dart... you can guess the rest.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Happy Chapman. While he may look like he lives up to his name, in reality he is very arrogant, allergic to cats, and wants a dog to star in his show to overshadow his more successful twin brother newscaster Walter.
    Happy Chapman: Oh, please, what a know-it-all! And everybody always said I was the handsome one, I was the smart one, and I was born first. But there you are "live from the Hague". And here I am working with this sack of dander on a dead-end regional morning show.
  • Destination Ruse: A Tail of Two Kitties starts with Jon travelling to England to surprise Liz, and Garfield and Odie believe they're coming with him. Garfield falls asleep in the car, wakes up still in the car, and assumes he must have slept through the flight... then he looks out of the window and sees the local kennel. He's not amused.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Garfield's destruction of Jon's living room in the first movie. At the end, a large shelf falls and perfectly misses Garfield.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In the second film, when Jon explains the mix-up between Garfield and Prince to Smithee:
    Smithy: Are you saying you have a cat that's Prince's Doppelgänger?
    Jon: No, I'm saying they look exactly alike, and there's a chance they may have gotten mixed up.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Or rather, the cat bites back. Persnikitty (real name Sir Roland) led the escaped animals from the pound to attack Happy Chapman.
  • Dog Stereotype: Downplayed with Luca. For the first part of the movie, he acts as the usual tough and aggressive guard Doberman pinscher, ready to maul Garfield for taunting him. But for the second part of the movie, he interacts a little bit with Garfield without jumping at him.
  • Dogs Love Fire Hydrants: After escaping the pound, a dog notices a fire hydrant outside but another tells him to keep running.
  • Everybody Has Standards:
    • Happy Chapman’s assistant is appalled when Chapman talks about using the shock collar on Odie.
    • Played for Laughs with Garfield, who had spent part of the movie mistreating and being jealous of Odie, is disgusted when he sees Chapman use the collar on Odie. Garfield declares nobody mistreats Odie like that but himself.
  • Evil Chancellor: Lord Dargis in the second film. He's (perhaps justifiably) outraged when his aunt Eleanor leaves her entire estate to her cat rather than him, and resolves to get Prince out of the way before the deeds can be signed over to him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Happy Chapman appears to be this to Garfield character Binky the Clown, as both characters are kid's show hosts, except Chapman is eviler.
  • Eyebrow Waggle: Becomes one of Garfield's most used moves in the films, as he gives one to the camera whenever he's about to pull a prank on Jon or Odie.
  • Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: When Garfield thinks Jon has been in the shower too long early on in the first film, he flushes the toilet to drive him out.
  • Groin Attack: Dargis is subjected to one in the second film. From a rottweiler, no less.
  • Guile Hero: Garfield in the second film only, to taunt Lord Dargis, during the film's climax chase. Combines with Karmic Trickster.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Happy Chapman in the first film ends up having his own shock collar used on him by Garfield and Odie.
    • Dargis tries to train his rottweiler, Rommel, to seek out Prince (actually Garfield) and savage him to death. Winston the English bulldog intercepts Rommel before he can do so and retrains him to attack Dargis' trousers, leading to the aforementioned Groin Attack.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Downplayed. The first movie came out at a time when in the comic, Liz looked down on Jon, when somehow she's madly in love with him in the movie. The comic would later follow suit. However, the film seemed to focus more on Garfield, especially in his efforts to rescue Odie.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Garfield treats Odie horribly throughout the film, but when Happy Chapman tortures Odie with a Shock Collar, Garfield is visibly disgusted by Chapman's actions.
    Garfield: Poor Odie. He faces a life of torture, neglect and degradation. Hey, nobody gets to mistreat my dog like that except me!
  • Identical Stranger: Garfield and Prince look exactly alike, the only difference being their accents. The humans' inability to understand them is one of the reasons why they get confused for each other by their respective caretakers in the sequel.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Jon in the first movie does not bother putting a collar on Odie that would have stated his home address and owner. Granted, Garfield doesn't need one, for he's too loyal (and too lazy) to run away, but Odie only recently moved into the house.
    • In the first movie, a human train traffic controller leaves his station for a 10-minute break, but there's nobody else to helm the panel, thus allowing Garfield to take over the train panel and nearly cause a collision that would have killed hundreds of people. The control panel Garfield took over even had a sign that said "Remain Alert Do Not Leave Control Panel Unattended".
  • In Name Only: The movie contains the character names from the original comic strip and not much else. Aside from Garfield himself, the characters are all very different from their original counterparts.
  • It's All About Me: Garfield spends most of the first movie thinking about himself and causing problems for Jon. His self-inflated ego gets so bad that he locks Odie outside, resulting in the dog running away. He drops this attitude and decides to bring Odie back.
  • Jealous Pet: Garfield's jealousy of Odie is what kickstarts a majority of the events of the first movie. After getting punished for accidentally knocking over a majority of things in Jon's house, Garfield sings about the time he used to spend together with Jon, then locks Odie out. Odie runs away, leading him to be found by Happy Chapman, a greedy TV host looking to bank in on the popularity Odie achieved from a dog show the previous day. When Garfield finds out, he sets out to rescue Odie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Garfield, just as he is in the comics, is a snarky grouch who nonetheless does care about Jon and Odie.
    • Luca the Doberman pinscher in the first movie. He's been eager to maul Garfield for the latter's taunting, but even he cheers when Garfield comes back to the cul-de-sac as a hero.
  • Large Ham: Bill Murray as Garfield. Oh, so much.
  • Kind Hearted Simpleton: Again Nermal by how pleasant he usually is while missing some obvious details, has no malicious bone towards anyone (compared to Garfield with Odie) and was shown to be gullible to Garfield's milk scam in a scene and Nermal in the live action films is this.
  • Logo Joke: In the trailers of both movies, the 20th Century Fox title was renamed 20th Century Cat with cat stripes over it.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: The Garfield comic strip is adapted into a live-action film with a CGI Garfield.
  • Miranda Rights: Parodied in A Tale of Two Kitties when Garfield is taken to the local kennel. He treats it like being thrown in jail and starts furiously rattling the cage door while yelling out his Miranda rights... until the cage door swings right open.
    Garfield: Never mind! I just broke out!
  • Mirror Routine: In A Tale of Two Kitties, Garfield and Prince do this when they finally meet, over a hedge arch. They desynchronize once Garfield tries some wicked dance moves, but he's so focused on said dance moves that he doesn't realize, and it's only once he breathes in Prince's face, causing him to faint, that the routine falls apart.
    Garfield: Ha! I knew you weren't me!
  • Mistaken for Toilet: An inverted example occurs in A Tail of Two Kitties when Garfield stows away to London alongside Odie to accompany John. In the bathroom of John's hotel room, Garfield finds and climbs inside what appears to be a tiny bathtub just the right size for him to bathe in...only to be less than amused when the supposed "bathtub" turns out to actually be a bidet.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Throughout the second film, Smithee the butler is ordered around and bullied by Lord Dargis, before finally being convinced to go on a vacation so Dargis can have one last go at killing Prince without Smithee being around to see it. At the end of the film, it's Smithee who calls the police on Dargis, and as Dargis is being dragged away yelling for Smithee to back him up, Smithee just cheerily waves him off.
  • My Local: During the second film, Jon and Liz visit England with Garfield. Garfield is switched out with Prince during some point. Prince, who the two think is Garfield, visits a traditional British pub with the two of them, where he finds out about his apparent love for lasagna, in a similar fashion to Garfield. In traditional British pub fashion, none of the patrons have an indoor voice.
  • Mythology Gag: In the first movie, like in Here Comes Garfield, he ends up sent to the pound, which he and the other cats and dogs escape from.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Garfield (and his identical twin Prince in the second film) are the only animals in the movies to be animated with CGI. Every other animal is a real-life one.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Happy Chapman when Jon declines his TV promotion for Odie after he wins the dog show—though Chapman does pretend to be good with rejection.
  • Not So Above It All: Preston the uptight macaw in the second movie (at least the end of it).
    Preston: I refuse to partake in this sinful display of hedonism! (sees some nuts in a bowl) Ooh, those nuts look good.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…:
    • In the first movie, Garfield stumbles out the window of a tall building, and survives by landing in a lasagna truck. Ignore the fact that he hit the solid metal top of it first, which would be a solid floor with an impact equal to having hit the ground, if not more so. (Justified, as he is a cat.)
    • In the second film, Prince jumps off a bridge onto a passing barge that will take him back towards Carlyle Castle. He's noticeably apprehensive about the jump but, like Garfield in the previous film, he survives the landing just fine. Again, justified, as he's also a cat.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Garfield gives one to Jon after (accidentally) demolishing the house.
  • Plot Hole: A minor one. At the climax of the second film, when Dargis finally realizes there are two identical cats, Garfield Breaks the Fourth Wall and quips, "For those of you keeping score at home, that's eighteen lives". Except it isn't, because Garfield had stated earlier in the film that he'd already lost a few of his.
  • Prince and Pauper: The main plot of A Tail of Two Kitties. For bonus points, the "prince" cat is actually named Prince. The UK version was even called The Prince and the Paw-per.
  • Product Placement: The first film has so much, including a scene where Garfield rattles off a number of cereal brands.
    • Goldfish crackers are eaten by Garfield.
    • Garfield mentions Chuck E Cheese.
    • There are ads of Wendy's.
  • Punny Name: The second film (set in London, as a reminder) has a character named Abby Westminster.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: The first movie's trailer.
  • Rousing Speech: Garfield gives one to the Carlyle Castle animals in the second film to encourage them to... make a perfect lasagne. This is Garfield we're talking about, after all.
  • Shaking the Rump: Garfield does this to Lord Dargis twice: the first time to distract him from Liz in Carlisle Castle, and the second time to taunt him during the film's climactic chase scene.
  • Shout-Out: The first movie has ones to Apocalypse Now, Cape Fear, The Lion King, Jerry Maguire, Apollo 13, and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: In the first movie. Liz says the reason why she has a crush on Jon since high school because he has always been nicer than the other boys.
    Jon: Liz, I have a confession... It's not really a confession, it's more of an admission. It's a... you know, it's like a declaration. I have a....
    Liz: I love it when you do that!
    Jon: Do what?
    Liz: Y'know, trip over yourself. It's cute... It's one of the reasons why I had a crush on you in high-school.
    Jon: You had a crush on me?
    Liz: Yeah... I thought you were really cute, decent, not like all those other jerks.
  • Sphere Eyes: Garfield only. Which is slightly creepy to some, even for a CGI talking animal in a live action movie.
  • Starring Special Effects: Garfield is CGI in a live-action setting.
  • Stupid Crooks: When Dargis is passed over for the large inheritance in favour of Prince, he is informed the inheritance will go to him once Prince dies and until then, he'll have to settle for his usual salary. Understandably, he is very displeased by this turn of events. So much so that he begins scheming to kill or make Prince go missing to get what he believes is rightfully his. This plan completely ignores the fact that Prince going missing after he loudly expressed displeasure in front of several lawyers and palace staff at being passed over AND being next in line for the inheritence would make him the primary suspect. Considering he had a highly-likely motive, he would be investigated with great scrutiny and in the very likely case he is found guilty, not only would he would face charges of animal abuse and never see a single pence of the money, he would also be out of a job.
  • Trailer Spoof: The first film's trailer is a spoof of Spider-Man 2 complete with "His blessing, his curse. Who is he? He's Garfield."
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: When the animals of the Carlisle estate first encounter Garfield, who's masquerading as Prince:
    "Obviously that cat is not Prince."
    "He's not even the cat formerly known as Prince."
  • "Ugly American" Stereotype: In the sequel, the American cast goes to the UK. Garfield yells at Odie not to pee on a British soldier's leg, because that'd make him an ugly American.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Garfield spends half the movie mistreating Odie even after he saved Garfield from Luca. The worst incident is Garfield locking Odie outside when he came to comfort his feline friend, resulting in Odie running away.
  • Unimpressive Progress Reveal: When Garfield finds out where the lost Odie is, he claims he can do this (rescue Odie), but then it cuts to him crawling on gravel complaining that he can't do this. It's then revealed that he only reached the house driveway, to which he goes back inside to reload before he actually travels to rescue Odie.
  • Villainous Breakdown: By the time Garfield, Prince, and the Carlisle Castle animals are finished with Lord Dargis, he's reduced to a gibbering wreck.
    Lord Dargis: It was the animals, you know. They were plotting against me. Ask Smithy, he'll vouch for me. SMITHYYY!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Even after Odie comes outside to comfort Garfield (who is locked out for the night), Garfield leaves him outside and locks the pet-door, causing Odie to run away. Arlene, Nermal, and Luca the Doberman pinscher all call Garfield out on this.
    Luca: Hey! What're you lookin' at?
    Garfield: Nothin'. Just lookin' for some company?
    Nermal: (also angrily) Keep walkin', creepo.
    Garfield: What's going on?
    Arlene: We know how much you hated Odie! We know how much you wanted him gone!
    Garfield: Wait a minute. All I wanted was to sleep in my own bed!
    Arlene: And to do it, you cast Odie out into the cold, cruel world?!
    Nermal: We saw you lock Odie outside last night!
    Garfield: Oh, I don't believe you guys! How was I supposed to know he was gonna run away? He's a dumb dog! No offense, Luca.
    Luca: Uh...what?
    Garfield: You can't blame me for that!
    Nermal: Any one of us could be next!
    Arlene: Yeah. There's no room for anybody else in Garfield's world.
    (Nermal, Arlene and Luca all turn their backs on Garfield and leave.)
    Garfield: What? Well, that's a little melodramatic. Well, I may've been a little tough about protecting my turf, but, um... I don't hate the guy.
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: When encountering a mob of rats in the first movie, Garfield tries persuading them not to eat him because he's 100% body fat (no nutritional value whatsoever). They just rebuff that body fat's good enough for them.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Garfield is the only character who looks like his comic counterpart. Everyone else would be unrecognizable if not for their names. Take Nermal, for instance, who is grey and striped in the comic strip, but a Siamese here. In fact, movie Arlene (a grey shorthair who bears no resemblance to the pink cat from the strip) looks more like comic Nermal.
  • Your Television Hates You: The first film has Garfield annoyed by seeing clips from movies and television shows involving dogs after he's caused Odie to run away.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Garfield The Movie


Garfield falls into lasagna

Garfield falls multiple stories into a truck full of lasagna, surviving thanks to the food somehow.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CarCushion

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