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Since 1978, cartoonist Jim Davis has explored the quotidian dramas of pet ownership via the daily travails of beleaguered Jon Arbuckle, his eager dog Odie, and the titular tubby orange tabby, Garfield. If the comic strip (the most widely syndicated in the world) is the weekly sitcom version of their story, then "The Garfield Movie" is the oversized action-adventure film, replete with references and comparisons to Tom Cruise.

Those Cruise-inspired Easter eggs are laid not necessarily for kids, but the adults who have accompanied them to the theater, such as when the score references "Mission: Impossible" while an ox named Otto, voiced by Ving Rhames (who plays Cruise's techie Luther in the action franchise), lays out the plan for a heist. Later, a triumphant climax featuring airborne food delivery drones offers the chance for a bit of the "Top Gun" theme while Garfield (Chris Pratt) brags that he does his own stunts, "just like Tom Cruise."

The line is a bit of overemphasis that this is the big, thrilling version of Garfield, not a "Jeanne Dielman"-style study of domestic life. In fact, after a quick framing device that shows us Garfield's heartstring-tugging history as a starving stray kitten who encounters Jon at an Italian restaurant, the film speeds through a quick montage of our favorite Garfield tropes: He loves lasagna, hates Mondays, torments Jon and manipulates Odie.

Garfield and Odie are kidnapped by a couple of thuggish pups, Nolan (Bowen Yang) and Roland (Brett Goldstein), who are working for a Persian cat named Jinx (Hannah Waddingham). She wants them to collaborate with Garfield's deadbeat dad Vic (Samuel L. Jackson) on a milk heist as revenge for the time she did in the pound after a scheme she and Vic pulled.

The heist plot allows for the action, adventure and suspense to come into play, as well as the aforementioned Tom Cruise references, and nods to film noir and early silent films. There's even a "Rashomon"-like flashback as we see Garfield's childhood abandonment from Vic's perspective, changing the way we understand how Garfield found himself alone in that alley that night. The heist may make up the majority of the story, but it's merely a means by which an estranged father and son can escape the emotional prison of masculinity and express their feelings to each other.

Directed by Mark Dindal, this "Garfield" may sport a deep knowledge of film history that can delight cinephile parents, but it is still a kiddie movie and comes with the same zany, harried energy one might expect from such a project. The aesthetic hews more closely to the look of the comic strip than the CGI-animation/live-action abomination of the two Garfield movies of the early aughts, which is on trend with other animated films that embrace an illustrated style, though this is less edgy.

Bill Murray voiced the rusty, rotund feline in "Garfield: The Movie" (2004) and "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties" (2006) in his dry, laconic manner, and Pratt does a fine job of taking over vocal duties. Harvey Guillén offers his voice for Odie's noises, and the rest of the voice cast (Nicholas Hoult as Jon, Cecily Strong as a Midwestern security guard named Marge) round out the world.

Though the film is formulaic and somewhat annoyingly energetic, it's cute and irreverent enough, and manages to bridge the generation gap, offering up a kid-friendly flick that can keep adults somewhat entertained for the duration, proving that even after all these years, Garfield's still got it.

'The Garfield Movie'

2.5 stars (out of 4)

Rated: PG for action/peril and mild thematic elements.

Where: In theaters Friday.