What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Marmaduke is mostly inoffensive, unless your family detests potty humor, in which case this isn't the movie for you. The main issue with any talking-animal flick is the degree to which the animals are stand-ins for humans, and in this case, the animals are made to seem like high-schoolers with all their accompanying social and romantic drama. There's a lot of romantic pining and even doggie dating and flirting, which may go over the heads of kids too young to understand the nuances of romance. Some subtle drug references pop up that will also bypass the kids' radar. The language is limited to insults like "freak," "stupid," and "loser," and mimics the bullying and teasing you'd find in a movie about unpopular students. For such a short movie, there are several positive messages about the importance of honest, unconditional friendship and family versus work time -- not that they'll necessarily get noticed with all the dog-fart jokes in the way.
- Families can talk about the movie's message about growing up "different" than the "cool" crowd (in this case, the top dog and his pedigree crew). How is the dog park like school?
- Marmaduke is often made fun of for his size. Kids: Does this happen to you or your friends? What's the movie's take on discrimination and bullying?
- Why are talking-animal movies so compelling to kids? Is it funny when animals have the same issues and thoughts as their human counterparts, like dating drama? Do you think this movie would still be for young kids if the characters were human instead of canine?