Marmaduke (U)



Family (2010)
88mins US

Starring: Stacy Ferguson, Steve Coogan, Emma Stone, Owen Wilson, Lee Pace, Kiefer Sutherland, Judy Greer, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, George Lopez
Director: Tom Dey
Writer(s): Tim Rasmussen, Vince Di Meglio
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Marmaduke is a lumbering Great Dane with a nose for trouble. His owners Phil and Debbie Winslow decide to uproot their family for his work, transplanting Marmaduke and the family cat, Carlos to the other side of the country. As the Great Dane becomes acquainted with his new surroundings, he makes friends with three dogs, Mazie, Raisin and Giuseppe, who teach him the rules of survival in the Bark Park.

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LondonNet Film Review
Marmaduke

Based on the newspaper comic strip by Brand Anderson and Phil Leeming, Marmaduke is a mildly entertaining family comedy about the rites of passage of a dog who believes you have to wag your tail to someone else's beat to fit in...

Marmadule. 20th Century FoxOf course, the lovable mutt ultimately learns a valuable lesson about individuality versus conformity, with some slapstick interludes and syrupy sentiment to sweeten the pill. Following in the paw prints of Cats & Dogs, Tom Dey's film allows its animal stars to converse via digital trickery, their computer generated mouths moving and eyes bulging in exaggerated fashion, while all the human characters hear are barks and meows. There are a couple of decent gags in Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio's linear script, like when some dogs are soaked to the bone in a storm and one of the critters whimpers, "It's raining cats and us!" And the film builds gradually to a climactic action sequence that washes away all of the sins of the past. However, rather like the clumsy, four-legged hero, the film isn't a pedigree breed and there are no surprises tucked under its collar.

Marmaduke (voiced by Owen Wilson) is a lumbering Great Dane with a nose for trouble. His owners Phil (Lee Pace) and Debbie Winslow (Judy Greer) decide to uproot their family for his work, transplanting Marmaduke and the family cat, Carlos (George Lopez), to the other side of the country. As the Great Dane becomes acquainted with his new surroundings in Laguna Beach, he makes friends with three outcast dogs, Mazie (Emma Stone), Raisin (Steve Coogan) and Giuseppe (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who introduce him to the Bark Park, where a fearsome Rottweiler called Bosco (Kiefer Sutherland) rules with his sweetheart, Jezebel (Stacy Ferguson). Marmaduke falls under Jezebel's spell, completely oblivious to the true feelings of Mazie who tells him tenderly, "When I'm around you, I smell potential with a hint of something minty." Alas, the Great Dane is a weakling next to Bosco and is humiliated in front of the other residents of the park. With the help of his new friends, Marmaduke resolves to "put the Great back into Dane", unaware that he possesses untapped skills which might just put the top dog in the shade.

Marmadule. 20th Century FoxMarmaduke is a shaggy dog story that contrasts the eponymous canine's journey of self-discovery with workaholic Phil's realisation that he is putting his work with Don Twombly (William H Macy) ahead of his loved ones. Vocal performances are lively, despite the paucity of one-liners, and small children will love the dance sequences and cartoon violence. Throughout the film, Marmaduke leaves Phil and Debbie gasping for fresh air after one of his pungent farts. "I know it's juvenile, but it's all I got" giggles the dog. Worryingly, it's almost all that Tom Dey's film has got as well.

- Sam cannon


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