This is a talking animal movie. It’s a talking animal movie based on a one-joke, not so very funny comic strip. That should be sufficient information for anyone old enough to read this review. The movie is less than five minutes old, when it hits us with its first Marmaduke flatulence joke which is perhaps not surprising given the kind of movie it is. Yes, the technical effects that allow the filmmakers to make the animals mouths appear to be spouting this inane dialogue are better than they were in years past. They’re also a lot creepier, and a testament to the fact that just because you can do something, it does not follow that you should do it. Did we learn nothing from Beverly Hills Chihuahua? Is there a story? Well, yes. You may have had the misfortune of encountering it fairly recently. It’s all about a success-hungry family man (Lee Pace), who uproots his family and moves them to a new location. They’re all miserable. He’s too busy trying to cater to the whims of his unreasonable boss to notice. If that sounds familiar to you from recent memory, you have my sympathies because it means you saw Furry Vengeance, too. I’m not sure the modern family film could exist without the distracted workaholic dad. Of course, there’s a secondary, or maybe it’s the primary, story about Marmaduke (voiced by Owen Wilson) trying to fit in so he can snag the hot collie (voiced by Stacy Ferguson) in town. Naturally, he forgets his real friends, and the long-suffering Australian shepherd (voiced by Emma Stone) that’s in love with him, and has to learn life-lessons just like his master. There’s a dramatic last minute thrill sequence that isn’t very thrilling and a predictably happy ending, capped off with, you guessed it, a flatulence joke. It’s depressing to realize that that, too, is predictable.
Director: Tom Dey
Writer: Brad Anderson and Vince Di Meglio
Producer: John Davis
Cast: Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steve Coogan, Fergie, Keifer Sutherland, Marlan Waylans, Damon Waylans Jr. and Sam Elliott