Have you ever felt awkward and that you don’t belong? Many teenagers sometimes feel like they don’t belong. But what if you are a teenage DOG with the same problem? Do you think you would feel worse or better about being a dog or a human?
After his comic fame, MARMADUKE, a huge 200 lb Great Dane, makes a leap onto the big screen. Marmaduke is moving to Orange County since his owner Phil, had taken a job with the organic pet food company “Bark Organics.”
The company owner is the eccentric Dr. Twombly, whose love for dogs makes him not very attractive. He does his business meetings in the dog park with no shoes! “Dogs don’t wear shoes,” reasons Twombly.
Marmaduke has a ton of trouble in trying to fit in. The category of dogs includes Jocks who love catching Frisbees and dating IQ challenged Cocker Spaniels, Drama Geeks (Pooches who love to act and put on a show), Mutts (mixed bred canines that are smart and dramatic), and Pedigrees who are the leaders of the park and are the “best” at everything. Pedigrees treat other dogs unfairly. Bosco, the cruel leader of the pack, is especially brutal.
What is Marmaduke? Jock? No. Drama Geek? Not really. Pedigree? No way! He decides to join the mutts. The mutt leader, Masie, takes him in. That was the beginning of many adventures, packed with humor, romance, and action.
I was invited to the red carpet premiere of MARMADUKE at the annual surf dog beach party held at San Diego’s Imperial Beach on May 22, 2010, and interviewed director Tom Dey and voice talents Owen Wilson (Marmaduke) and George Lopez (Carlos the cat). Dey directed “Shanghai Noon” and “Failure to Launch.” I asked Dey why he chose Marmaduke from the cartoon to make a movie. “That’s a good question,” said Dey, “I love the character of Marmaduke. That’s what I look for when thinking about my next film. I want to find a character that I will want to spend a year and half of my life working with. This is a great script and a great story.”
Wilson played the owner of Marley the dog, in the hit family movie “Marley and Me.” “Working on Marley and Me definitely helped me prepare for voice over for Marmaduke,” said Wilson. Wilson was also in Pixar’s “Cars” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” Lopez, who voiced the feline friend of Marmaduke, has his own TV show “Lopez Tonight,” and has been in many other films including “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” I asked Lopez if he liked being on TV or doing voice-over better. “I’m starting to like voice work now because I get to work with other actors like Owen. I can go in my pajamas, and cruise into the studio, and not have to worry about anything. With voiceover, you can do it over and over again if you don’t like the result,” said Lopez.
I give Marmaduke 3.5 starfish. It is packed with humor, romance, and action. However, there is too much crude humor and the storyline is a bit too predictable. Another flaw: why would Phil’s family let Marmaduke loose in the new house alone, when they know so well his mischievous personality?
My favorite part was when Dr. Twombly reneged on firing Phil because it shows the power of the family. The funniest scene was when Marmaduke ejected Carlos off the sofa.
You don’t have to always fit in. Just be yourself!