MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Owen Wilson as MARMADUKE
Lee Pace as PHIL WINSLOW
Judy Greer as DEBBIE WINSLOW
William H. Macy as DON TWOMBLY
Steve Coogan as RAISIN
Sam Elliot as CHUPADOGRA
Fergie as JEZEBEL
George Lopez as CARLOS
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as GIUSEPPE
Emma Stone as MAZIE
Kiefer Sutherland as BOSCO
Marlon Wayans as LIGHTNING
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Based on the popular comic strip, “Marmaduke” tells the story of a Great Dane who always seems to be getting into trouble. When his owner gets a new job in California, the family moves, and Marmaduke has to deal with trying to fit in not only in his new home but also with the other dogs in the neighborhood. At the same time, his owner is struggling to keep his job, and when he brings Marmaduke in to help him out, this could be a great decision or a career-ending one.
WHAT I LIKED
Unlike many reviewers out there, I’m not annoyed with the recent rash of talking animal movies. I thought “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” was really cute, and the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies were a lot of fun to watch with my kids. Likewise, “Marmaduke” would be a decent choice for take-out pizza for family movie night. It’s not as cohesive as some of these talking dog animal films, but it will deliver the comedy (and farts) that the kiddies should enjoy.
There’s also a certain meta feel to this film that just makes me chuckle. Owen Wilson starred in the adorable “Marley and Me” a couple years ago, and now he’s on the other end of the leash. Like Bill Murray as “Garfield,” he’s a pretty good choice for this role. Likewise, the rest of the voice cast works pretty well, including Kiefer Sutherland as the villain, Sam Elliot as the mysterious Chupadogra and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” alum George Lopez as the wise-cracking cat.
Running a very lean 88 minutes, “Marmaduke” doesn’t overstay its welcome too much. It’s not high-brow humor, but it’s cute enough. My kids liked it, and that’s who it is made for.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
As talking dog movies go, “Marmaduke” is somewhere in the middle between “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and “Underdog.” The story is pretty forced at times, and that’s to be expected from a big-screen adaptation of a one-panel strip in the funny pages. It doesn’t know if it wants to tell a typical adolescent story with dogs as the focus or to tell a story about dogs.
The film does completely break down in several scenes, namely when Marmaduke throws a party and when the dogs break into dance (yeah, you’ve seen that in the trailer). It’s not as bad as something like “Furry Vengeance,” but it’s still a gross mis-use of CGI animals.
The Blu-ray comes bundled with the DVD as well as the hi-definition disc. The Blu-ray itself includes deleted scenes, a gag reel and featurettes on “Canine Casting” and “Cowabarka!” which is about teaching dogs to surf. There’s also “home movies” of Marmaduke as a puppy and Carlos as a kitten.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids who like talking, farting dogs… which is all of them.