Although something of a child at heart, with loving animation even more as a young adult and still loving many childhood favourites (even more so with some), the broader my film taste and knowledge has gotten have found myself harder to please over-time. Have found that time has not been kind to some childhood favourites, but it has been kind to the ever funny and endearing Garfield, 'Garfield and Friends' and his numerous specials. With understanding the humour more and finding more to like and appreciate, actually like them even more now.
Having said that, 'Garfield in Paradise' is for me not one of the best Garfield specials/television films. This is not meant in a bad way, it's still good and does the character justice, just that others, particularly 'Garfield in Disguise', 'Garfield's Feline Fantasies' and 'A Garfield Christmas Special', left more of an impression on me and stuck with me more. Found them, and pretty much the rest of the other specials/television films, funnier, more emotionally impactful, more memorable and more interesting story-wise, not saying that 'Garfield in Paradise' isn't any of those things, we are just talking in comparison with the others. Regardless of whether it is one of the best or not (and for me it's a lesser effort, again comparitively and only because a vast majority of the specials are very good to brilliant), it does deserve to be better known.
'Garfield in Paradise' is again slight in story, playing more like an extended television episode that would have fitted well with some tweaks in the writing on 'Garfield and Friends'. The supporting characters could have been more interesting and memorable, the stereotypes can go either way (personally didn't find them offensive but the depiction agreed was on the weird side) and do agree also about one character being rather irritating.
As said, other Garfield specials are funnier, have more heart (though neither are in short supply certainly) and stick in the mind longer, the writing is generally fine, just that other Garfield specials do them even better.
With all of that being said, there is a lot to like about 'Garfield in Paradise'. The animation is still as colourful as remembered with the generally smooth drawing, far from sparse backgrounds and attention to detail holding up really well, in terms of animation as far as the specials go it's to me one of the slicker-looking ones. The Hawaiian setting is colourfully and vividly rendered. The music is as ever pleasant and infectious.
One is not short-changed when it comes to the entertainment value, with the humour (pretty much all of it coming from Garfield) being wry and amusing. This is not something that was made with no soul or care either, while there is plenty of fun and affectionate atmosphere. Garfield is so easy to love and has great comic timing, while Odie is adorable. Can never get enough of their chemistry. Have no qualms with the voice acting, Lorenzo Music has never been bettered, or even equalled, as the voice of Garfield.
Concluding, pretty good if not great. 7/10