Marmaduke, the world's most lovable Great Dane, leaps from comic strip fame (appearing in 600 newspapers in over 20 countries) to big screen stardom. In this family comedy, the super-sized dog who never fit in, finally finds a place where it's okay to stand out. Now living large in Orange County, California, Marmaduke is helping his family make the big transition from the Midwest to The O.C. But he's also discovering that fitting in with his new four-legged friends isn't always easy for a 200-pound teenage dog. Lucky for Marmaduke, he doesn't have to go it alone because he always has his "step-bro" and best pal, Carlos, a Russian Blue Cat, watching his back.
Marmaduke is a lighthearted comedy based on the comic strip by Brad Anderson. When Phil gets a job with an organic pet food company in California, he moves his family, including his huge Great Dane Marmaduke and Balinese cat Carlos, from their home in Kansas in order to pursue his new job opportunity, but he's so wrapped up in his new job that he doesn't really take time to listen to his wife and kids and consider their needs. Marmaduke knows exactly what's going on, but he can't get Phil to listen, and besides, he's got his own problems trying to fit in at the local dog park. Phil and Marmaduke each struggle to impress their peers and reinvent themselves in the image of what they think others want them to be, but they only wind up hurting themselves and their family. Marmaduke is full of classic, if overused comic moments--the oversized dog passing gas while lying on Phil and Debbie's bed, Marmaduke and his dog friends trashing the house at an out-of-control dog party, and a crazy dog-surfing scene--but the gags manage to not completely overwhelm the plot, as happened in Furry Vengeance, and the film leaves viewers with an important message about the value of family, being true to oneself, and taking time to really listen to those you love. Marmaduke could almost be classified as Marley and Me light: it combines silly gags with a serious message like Marley and Me, but it lacks a high level of emotional investment. Voice talent includes Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Fergie, Emma Stone, and Kiefer Sutherland. Marmaduke isn't a great film, but the kids will be entertained by it and most adults will find it palatable enough. (Rated PG for some rude humor and language, but appropriate for most ages 7 and older.) --Tami Horiuchi