Marmaduke

**

The  loveable Great Dane, Marmaduke  from the long running comic strip debuts on the big screen in John Davis’s latest animal adventure. Marmaduke is cut from the same cloth as Garfield, his comic strip adaption from 2004, yet his personality is not nearly as endearing as Garfield’s. To pitch the idea to Fox, Davis put a Great Dane inside a Mini Cooper- the dog was so big that its head stuck prominently through the sunroof- and parked it outside the office of the studio chairman Tom Rothman.

Marmaduke features the voice of Owen Wilson, despite the fact that Marmaduke is one of the few comic strip animals that never spoke. The film also includes the voice talents of George Lopez, Fergie, Emma Stone, Jeremy Piven, and Steve Coogan.

Marmaduke plays a large part in his human family’s life, but when the Winslows (Lee Pace and Judy Greer) move from Kansas to Orange County, the teenage canine joins the crowd at the dog park and discovers that fitting in with his new pals is going to be a challenge.

The dog park social scene plays out much like a typical American High School with all of the accompanying cliques. A Mutts vs. Pedigrees turf war ignites, leaving Marmaduke to choose between impressing the beautiful Collie, Mazie, who is dating the top dog alpha male of the park, and his new found friends who are less than popular, all while trying to help his human family transition through the new move.

In the film’s other plot line, Marmaduke’s owner Phil is trying to make an impression as the new marketing director for a pet food company run by an eccentric pet lover, played by William H. Macy. Phil is torn between work and family life until Marmaduke goes missing…at which time the family pulls together to save the day in a whirlwind rescue of the supersize dog.

The kids will love the crude potty humor and Marmaduke’s antics, but the canine romantic triangle side plot was unnecessary and the writers could have done a better job integrating the human family into Marmaduke’s world. The film would mostly be benefited by Marmaduke not talking period. Overall it was entertaining for the kids, and I would recommend the movie to all canine lovers.


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