Published Jun 03, 2010"Two paws up!" "A howlingly good time!" "You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll chase your own tail!" "Make no bones about it ― every dog has his day, and Marmaduke's day is now!" "There's a new dog in town!" "You'll have a ruff time not enjoying Marmaduke!" "I was rolling over in the aisles!"
But seriously, Marmaduke is every bit as terrible as you'd expect a movie based on Brad Anderson's unreadable comic to be. However, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that amongst comparable movies, this one ranks a little bit higher than Garfield (2004), the comic strip movie from which all later comic strip movies are derived.
Marmaduke is cheerier and slightly more likeable; his selfishness and clumsiness are less mean-spirited, and more a product of stupidity than conscious cruelty. Marmaduke loves life, while Garfield only lives to complain. Then again, maybe once you're able to seriously compare Garfield to Marmaduke, you've been on the job too long.
The relentlessly predictable plot sees Marmaduke moving to Orange County with his owners (Judy Greer and Lee Pace, in phenomenally lazy performances), where he finds himself an outsider in the O.C.'s dog park in-crowd. Eventually, Marmaduke ingratiates himself with the popular dogs before his selfishness causes his true friends to abandon him, leading to a third act where he redeems himself. It all ends with a bunch of dogs dancing to "That's What I Like About You," which the Fox marketing department evidently deemed so funny they centred an entire advertising campaign around it.
Marmaduke even finds himself in the midst of a love triangle, between his slightly dowdy canine soul mate and a more popular, beautiful dog. The latter dog formerly dated the neighbourhood's sinister "Alpha Dog," but her loyalties seem to lie with whoever is popular. I bet she chews a lot of dogs' bones
The human characters have their own little subplots, but none are given enough screen time to be more than a distraction, and the dogs (voiced lifelessly by the likes of Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Steve Coogan and Fergie) are never funny enough to excuse the creepy, direct-to-video special effects.
If nothing else, Marmaduke serves as a goldmine of dog-related puns. We get the expected ones like, "I'm off the leash!" and "Who let the dogs out?," along with others that are utterly inexplicable.
In that spirit, I would just like to add that Marmaduke is for the dogs. It's Marma-dreck; it's a Marma-dud. (Fox)