"Marmaduke" Movie Review (2010)

6/07/2010 Posted by Admin


Movie Review

Directed by Tom Dey, written by Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio, based on the comic by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming.

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

As any filmmaker or enthusiast could tell you, it's not a wise idea to book-end a movie with the same fart joke. Now, if only someone could pass that along to "Marmaduke" director Tom Dey.

"Marmaduke," the latest in an insufferable subgenre of talking animal movies ("Babe" excluded), sets the tone for its movie in the first five minutes. The title Great Dane mix Marmaduke (voiced by Owen Wilson), drags his owner Phil Winslow (Lee Pace) around the house trying to avoid a bath. After much destruction and mayhem, Marmaduke makes a run for the doggy door and gets stuck. Looking at the audience -- nothing more than a lame "Kangaroo Jack" looking effect -- Marmaduke tells us this is a day in his life. Oozing with subcontext, I like to think of this as Marmaduke asking me, "Are you ready to endure 80 more minutes of this?"

Sorry, Marmaduke. The answer is no.

Phil gets a high-paying job offer from an organic dog food company in California, which is run by William H. Macy (who I feel most sorry for). The husband, father of three and pet owner, packs up his family and heads West, where we're hit with "The O.C." references ad nauesum. Why a movie aimed at 8-year-olds would dwell on a show canceled three years ago is beyond me. Nevertheless, it does so again and again.

Like a family film with no originality, the movie finds Phil working too hard and neglecting his family. His son skips soccer practice, his daughter wants to move back to Kansas and his wife pleads with him to work less. While the Winslows try to find their footing in California, Marmaduke has an equally difficult time adjusting. The dog park that Phil takes him to is structured like a high school, with cliques of airheads, "mushroom" heads, popular purebreds and misfit mutts.

Marmaduke falls in with the mutts, where he meets Mazie (voiced by Emma Stone), Giuseppe (Christopher Mintz-Plasse aka McLovin) and Raisin (Steeve Coogan). Not understanding the social order of his new world, Marmaduke talks with Jezebel (Fergie), the girlfriend of the purebred pack leader, Bosco (Kiefer Sutherland), who strives to embarrass and belittle Marmaduke around every corner. Marmaduke continues to make mistakes, falling out of favor with his family and his mutt friends. Perhaps Phil and Marmaduke could both learn something from each other?

Marmaduke stumbles through each frame gracelessly, dragging Phil and the film's dignity down with him. The movie reaches its point of no return during a "Dance Dance Revolution" knock-off scene, where a computer-generated Marmaduke gets down to Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber's "Eenie Meenie." Of course, it ends with him knocking the machine over and breaking it -- classic Marmaduke.

And if that doesn't make you cringe, there's another ensemble dance scene, a doggy surf competition, two references to "Who Let the Dogs Out," and George Lopez providing the voice of the family's Latino cat, which borders on racist.

Thankfully for Wilson and company, they get to hide behind the mask of adorable dogs and not worry about taking responsibility for their poor choices. Unfortunately, the animal's voices contain so little liveliness that you would think the actors were rehearsing for pull-string doll recordings.

Previously, director Tom Dey made "Failure to Launch" and "Showtime," the latter of which was one of the worst movies of 2002. Congratulations Tom, you've done it again in 2010 with "Marmaduke."

Grade: F

View the trailer for "Marmaduke" below. What are your thoughts of the film?

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  1. Hrushi said...

    Sad movie it seems. Thanks I didn't watch this one at all....
    btw check this out!: