August 15, 2010
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Director: Tom Dey
Writer: Vince Di Meglio/Tim Rasmussen
Producers: John Davis
Starring: Owen Wilson/George Lopez/Fergie/Steve Coogan/Kiefer Sutherland
BBFC Certification: U
Duration: 87 minutes
Over the years, we’ve had family movies based around animals talking and just lately, the quality of them have been falling since The Homeward Bound and Babe and after watching Marmaduke, all I can say is from this movie, the only way is up now. Before I start the review, I am aware that this is a family movie and that this isn’t the sort of movie to be taken seriously. Having said that, there are thousands of movies that work on the same formula and the same story as this one and they do it a hundred times better than Marmaduke. The movie is based on a long-running comic strip about a mischievous dog that lives with the Winslows. After the Winslows make the move from Midwest to the O.C, Marmaduke tries to find himself some friends but he soon finds that making friends isn’t so easy when you stand out. While Marmaduke is a family movie and is a dead cert to keep the little ones occupied, the adults will be driven to tears because of how tedious it becomes. It starts pretty good but around the twenty to thirty minute mark, you start to lose interest and quickly become bored, the story has hardly any drive or any form of imagination. Marmaduke’s story is very weak but the clear messages the movie has are very strong and clear such as being yourself and not falling into peer pressure. The comic scenes, however, are delivered with bad timing and become quickly repetitive and whatever charm was in Marmaduke gets lost shortly after the movie starts.
The next thing that Marmaduke tries is to make the animals look like they’re talking and, at first, it looks funny using real dogs with fake mouths but, just like the humour, it wears off after a short while. While there are some well-known celebrities and actors in this movie such as Owen Wilson and Kiefer Sutherland, you can’t help but ask yourself why on Earth would they want to be involved in this. I understand that Marmaduke is a much-loved comic strip but turning it into a movie is a bad move. Another big thing wrong with Marmaduke is the voice-acting. Owen Wilson isn’t bad as voicing Marmaduke but he’s nowhere near good.
The story could have been told in no less than twenty minutes but is instead stretched to ninety minutes with hardly any imagination and full of unnecessary scenes which aim to get a laugh out of you and fails miserably. This could have been so much better but instead, it felt very lazy and unfortunately for Marmaduke, it showed in the movie with it’s cheesy scenes. Marmaduke is easily one of the worst movies of 2010, if not one of the worst family movies ever. It lacks so many things but mostly lacks humour and charm. However, as a children’s movie, it does what it says on the tin and would entertain those who are ten years old or younger. To let you know the kind of humour that is in Marmaduke, here is a little description of one of the scenes: Marmaduke climbs on the bed with Phil and Debbie, his owners. Just when the wife and husband are about to kiss, Marmaduke passes wind and the couple shout “MAR-MA-DUKE!” in a sitcom-like, ‘charming’ way. Now, if you didn’t like that description, then it’s probably best you avoid this movie. If you want to watch this movie, stick on The Homeward Bound or Babe instead or watch anything else in the cinema!