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Review: Marmaduke.

BASED on the newspaper comic strip by Brand Anderson and Phil Leeming, Marmaduke is a mildly entertaining family comedy about the rites of passage of a dog who believes you have to wag your tail to someone else's beat to fit in.

Of course, the lovable mutt ultimately learns a valuable lesson about individuality versus conformity, with some slapstick interludes and syrupy sentiment to sweeten the pill.

Following in the paw prints of Cats & Dogs, Tom Dey's film allows its animal stars to converse via digital trickery, their computer generated mouths moving and eyes bulging in exaggerated fashion, while all the human characters hear are barks and meows.

There are a couple of decent gags, like when some dogs are soaked to the bone in a storm and one of the critters whimpers, "It's raining cats and us".

And the film builds gradually to a climactic action sequence that washes away all of the sins of the past.

However, rather like the clumsy, four-legged hero, the film isn't a pedigree breed and there are no surprises tucked under its collar.

Marmaduke (voiced by Wilson) is a lumbering Great Dane with a nose for trouble. His owners Phil (Pace) and Debbie Winslow (Greer) decide to uproot their family for his work, transplanting Marmaduke and the family cat, Carlos (Lopez), to the other side of the country.

As the Great Dane becomes acquainted with his new surroundings in Laguna Beach, he makes friends with three outcast dogs, Mazie (Stone), Raisin (Coogan) and Giuseppe (Mintz-Plasse), who introduce him to the Bark Park, where a fearsome Rottweiler called Bosco (Sutherland) rules with his sweetheart, Jezebel (Ferguson).

Alas, the Great Dane is a weakling next to Bosco and is humiliated in front of the other residents of the park. With the help of his new friends, Marmaduke resolves to "put the Great back into Dane".

Marmaduke is a shaggy dog story that contrasts the eponymous canine's journey of self-discovery with workaholic Phil's realisation that he is putting his work with Don Twombly (Macy) ahead of his loved ones. Vocal performances are lively and children will love the dance sequences and cartoon violence.

STARRING: Lee Pace, Judy Greer, William H Macy and the voices of Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Emma Stone, Steve Coogan, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kiefer Sutherland, Stacy Ferguson.

DIRECTOR: Tom Dey CERTIFICATE: U RUNNING TIME: 88mins REVIEWER'S RATING: ..' SHOWING: Cineworld, Showcase & Vue VERDICT: Mildly entertaining family flickwith some good gags along the way.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2010
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