— by CAM SMITH —
In the rich pantheon of celebrated animated canines, I must confess that Marmaduke ranks somewhere in the nether regions — well below Scooby and Scrappy Doo, Pluto and Goofy, Underdog, Huckleberry Hound, Santa’s Little Helper, Brian, Odie, Deputy Dog and Detective Hemlock Holmes — on my Awareness Meter.
This is probably due to the fact that the lovably slobbery Great Dane doesn’t see much print up here in the Great White North. We’re more of a “For Better or for Worse”-loving people, it would appear.
Perhaps someone should inform the goodly folks at 20th Century Fox that they’ll have to roll up their trusty sleeves and perform some serious marketing magic to convince my fellow countrymen that 2010 is indeed the Year of the Marmaduke, as evidenced by MTV’s announcement that Owen Wilson has been cast, seemingly of his own volition, as the voice of the (probably CG) titular wacky mutt.
Somewhere in Hollywood, Bill Murray and Jason Lee are smiling agreeably and fanning themselves with handfuls of crisp $1,000 dollar bills
Wilson will be joining a surprisingly capable cast, which includes William H. Macy, Judy Greer, Lee Pace, Fergie, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steve Coogan, Marlon Wayans and Damon Wayans, in the no-doubt flavourless, yet kiddie-pleasing, effort which will likely prove alarmingly lucrative.
Written by “License to Wed” scribes Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio, “Marmaduke” is apparently being sold as a dog-ified variation on “West Side Story,” involving star-crossed lovers and turf wars, and will be directed by Tom Dey — who made the really fun “Shanghai Noonm” the middling “Showtime” and the tear-your-eyes-out-and-throw-them-at-the-screen-awful “Failure to Launch.”
Make of this news what you will.
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.