Who's In It: Lee Pace, Judy Greer, William H. Macy and the voices of Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steve Coogan, Stacy Ferguson, Kiefer Sutherland, Marlon Wayans, Sam Elliott
The Basics: Marmaduke farted. And he got on the couch and tore it up. He did a little break-dancing. He totally ate that waffle right off the plate on the high-up kitchen counter, which he can do because he's a pony-sized Great Dane. He yanked his owner around on a leash and watched an episode of The O.C. and entered a surfing competition. But then he turned into kind of a jerk, shunning his muttly bros in favor of the snooty purebreds, like a character out of Pretty In Pink. It was a long dark night of the soul.
What's The Deal: Some people will complain that this movie betrays the loveable Marmaduke comic strip by scripting a scenario in which he goes through unpleasant d-baggy personality changes. But I say this is a good lesson for kids. Show the little ones that you should be nice to your friends even if the popular kids try to recruit you and turn you evil. Have some backbone. Besides, it's not like the movie's target audience has fond memories of a newspaper comic strip. They probably don't even know that newspapers were things people used to read.
Yes, He Talks: Which is not the problem. The problem is that he talks like Owen Wilson. And when Owen Wilson talks all I can think about his how Marley dies at the end of that other doggie movie he was just in. If you didn't see that one then you have no idea what kind of heart-shredding insanity it contained and it's like we don't even live on the same planet. Go away and watch it and then we'll be talking like people who've been through the same war.
PG-isms: Hey parents, are you annoyed that every movie they make for little kids now features a few weirdly inappropriate and suggestive scenes that are aimed squarely at the sophisticated 10-year-old market? You should be. It's a pain to have to count the number of mild swears for the sake of my sister-in-law and my kindergarden-aged nephew. But I do it. And for the record there aren't any, but there are odd dogs-on-mushrooms references and a smoochy Lady and the Tramp date where they play the song "Let's Get It On." But, you know, why not just go all the way and bring in Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to talk about dogs eating their own feces while you're at it? Lets bring in the high school crowd too. Release an "unrated" DVD after that. No rules!
The Parts They'll Try To Edit Out During Its Run In Arizona Multiplexes: George Lopez as the Mexican cat who manages to incorporate references to guacamole and margaritas into lots of his line readings. Not making that up. In Beverly Hills Chihuahua all that stuff felt very "Viva La Raza." Here it's just odd.