A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
20th Century-Fox presents
a film directed by Tom Dey. Written by Tim Rasmussen and Vince DiMeglio, based on the comic strip created by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming. Running time: 87 minutes. Rated PG (for rude humor and language).
Dogs cannot talk. This we know. Dogs can talk in the movies. This we also know. But when we see them lip-synching with their dialogue, it's just plain grotesque. The best approach is the one used by “Garfield” in which we saw the cat and heard Bill Murray, but there was no nonsense about Garfield's mouth moving.
The moment I saw Marmaduke's big drooling lips moving, I knew I was in trouble. There is nothing discreet about a Great Dane with a lot on his mind, especially when he's the narrator of the film and never shuts up. And when his master Phil moves the Winslow family from Kansas to Orange County and he joins the crowd at the dog park of a vegetarian pet food company, well, what can I say about a movie that has more speaking parts for dogs (and a cat) than for humans?
This is a congenial PG-rated animal comedy. If you like the comic strip, now in its 56th year, maybe you'll like it, maybe not. Marmaduke's personality isn't nearly as engaging as Garfield's. Then again, if personality is what you're in the market for, maybe you shouldn't be considering a lip-synched talking animal comedy in the first place.