A low-impact kid's comedy, "Marmaduke" may have little in common with the comic strip upon which it's based but remains a perfectly viable flick for dog-loving families. Owen Wilson makes the movie happen as the fun-loving voice of the great dane who famously hates water. With plenty of dumb puns, the straight-line story barely ever hits a plot point in a movie that coasts on its primary conceit of watching dogs talk and interact as if they had a frontal lobe. Marmaduke's master Phil Winslow (Lee Pace) moves his wife (Judy Greer) and three kids from Kansas to Orange County, California to head up a marketing launch for "Bark Organics," the dog food company that pays his bills. Also along for the ride is the family cat, a Russian Blue named Carlos (voiced with great humor by George Lopez). Keifer Sutherland does a smoky grizzled voice for the local dog park alpha canine Bosco. Tom Dey ("Shanghai Noon") produced and directed this innocent family movie that critics will love to hate, and little tikes will just love.
Rated PG. 87 mins. (B-) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)
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