Six Clips from ‘Marmaduke’

— by ROB COX —

Back in January, when I did a “Tale of the Trailer” at my own website for July’s “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” I wrote that, “cutesy kids movies with talking animals are mostly a dime a dozen these days.” Case in point: The upcoming “Marmaduke.”

If you juxtaposed these six clips atop comparable clips from “Galore” and turned the sound down (or maybe if you left it up), I’m not sure you could tell much difference. At best, you’d likely get confused as to where one movie ended and the other began. At worst, you’d develop a sanity-shattering migraine and pray for death. Then again, you might pray for death just watching one of these flicks.

That’s not being entirely fair to “Marmaduke,” though, as I did chuckle a handful of times watching these clips. Almost without fail, however, each minor chuckle was followed by a surfing dog sequence or some other such cloying foolery that bombarded me with contrived cutesiness.

Owen Wilson does bring a certain amusing charm to the “Marmaduke” character and there’s something inherently endearing about Great Danes, too — a built-in, oafish, lovable goofiness that’s at once charming and disarming. If forced to choose between the two flicks, then, I’d probably take “Marmaduke” in a pinch. It does have a sharper sense of wit and a more impressive cast. That cast, by the way, in addition to Wilson, includes Lee Pace, Kiefer Sutherland, William H. Macy, George Lopez, Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Elliot, Judy Greer and pop star Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson.

Wow; that list of acting and voice talent alone gives “Marmaduke” a decided edge. Not that I’ll see either in theaters, but if the “Cats and Dogs” trailer was like video ipecac, “Marmaduke” was more of an eye roll and a sarcastic finger down the throat.

“Marmaduke” is now playing in theaters.

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