Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties 2004 ****

‘I’m not doing the ugly American thing,’ says Garfield (Bill Murray) in this souped-up sequel to 2004’s pretty awful Garfield, which takes the feline sour-puss off in a much more plot-driven direction and generates a good few laughs in the process. As the title suggests, Tim Hill’s film used Charles Dickens as a jumping off point, although The Prince and the Pauper’s dual protagonist is also a clear inspiration. Garfield stows away with his doggy-pal Odie when his own heads to London on holiday, but unknown to them, lookalike Prince (voiced by Tim Curry) has been exiled from his castle after inheriting it; the nefarious Lord Manfred Dargis (Billy Connolly) is responsible. When Garfield meets Prince, predictable music-hall mirror gags abide, but there’s also plenty of life in the minor characters, with Ian Abercrombie, Roger Rees and Lucy Davis all having a laugh. A Tale of Two Kitties was less than enthusiastically received in 2004, but it looks much brighter in the light of cheap imitations like The Queen’s Corgi; predicable gags like Garfield getting chased by palace guards while shouting ‘The British are coming!’ or Garfield’s doppelganger saying ‘I used to be formerly known as Prince’ hit exactly the right spot. And the perennially underused Connolly shines in a role presumably intended for, and rejected by John Cleese; the Glasgow comic throws himself into the role of thwarted wannabe aristocrat with genuine glee.


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