Marmaduke (2010)

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Released:  Friday, June 4, 2010  
Length:  87 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Studios
Genre: Family
Rating: Marmaduke is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.


Marmaduke © 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Marmaduke, the world's most lovable Great Dane, leaps from comic strip fame to big screen stardom. In this family comedy event, the "Duke" is living large in Orange County, California. But fitting in with his new four-legged friends - and a potential romantic interest - isn't always easy for a super-sized teenage dog.

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Marmaduke images are © 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


Marmaduke Theatrical Review

Old Yeller this isn't. Which is mildly amusing as Old Yeller is playing on a television in one of the movie's scenes. That's how I would summarize this movie. Mildly amusing. There are a few funny parts but this movie can't decide if it should be a canine comedy, like Beethoven, or a serious movie. Marmaduke is based on the newspaper comic strip of the same name, but other than the character this movie shares very little with its' namesake. This "genre" of newspaper-comics-turned-into-live-action-movies is still a small group - the only other one I can think of is Garfield. And it just doesn't translate well. The most successful comic strips turned into movies/television shows seem to follow the latter, like the Peanuts or maybe even the Boondocks.

But now down to business.

Story/Script/Plot Development (D): The story is basically "Marmaduke meets the O.C."; In this version of the comic, Marmaduke's owner, Phil (played by Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies") is a marketing executive for a pet food company, who accepts a job offer from a company in Orange County, California. So the family moves from Kansas to the O.C. Marmaduke goes from just being a dog and the funny things that happen just because he's a big dog, to trying to replicate human teenager life with canines, with cliques, pecking order, etc. It just doesn't blend well and at times makes no sense. The story just doesn't know if it wants to be a human family growth movie, a canine teenager growth movie, or a comedy. Not the mention the fascination with flatulence jokes at different times in the movie.

Cinematography (C): There was nothing noteworthy about this movie. It continues the new "trend" of using fully CGI animals doing stunts that would be impossible to adding CGI on top of real dogs to make it appear that they are talking. Nothing spectacular but nothing horrible either.

Acting/Chemistry (C): I don't know if it's just the script, but to me it seems that many of the actors didn't get involved in the movie. Owen Wilson voices Marmaduke, and he seemed to be reprising his role of Oscar from Armageddon most of the time - is that character like himself perhaps? I don't know. George Lopez was good as Carlos, the family cat but he seemed restrained - maybe if the script had allowed a better use of him it could have helped. Fergie plays Jezebel, the "good looking" purebred dog that Marmaduke is interested in; she also seemed to just play herself. Kiefer Sutherland plays Bosco, the reigning Alpha dog. He does a little better job than others but not incredible. Sam Elliott joins on a small role and like almost every time he appears in a movie, he tries his best to deliver on what he has been given.

Use of locations/Costumes/Special Effects (C): The movie mainly takes place at Marmadukes's house and at an O.C. dog park, which is fine but not spectacular. Costumes were basically regular clothing off the streets.

Movie Score (F): It's hard for me to rate a film on a complete failure, but the score was basically non-existent. No memorable themes, recurring or not, and the film's music basically relies on pop/dance music during the times they want to have music. Kids may enjoy those moments with the music but they don't add anything to the film - nothing like how a good score can help carry a film.

Final Grade: (D). A D+. I can't think of anything to give this movie extra credit to bring it up to a C-, really. If you have kids, this movie is mildly entertaining and may be enjoyable for them. But don't expect to completely enjoy it as an adult nor get anything lasting from it.


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