This mostly humdrum family-friendly comedy is a blend of live-action and CGI with Owen Wilson voicing the titular big, yet adoring great dane. It's dialed-down sense of wit isn't that far removed from Sex and the City 2 given what's on view and heard. Though some may be wishing for something like "Garfield" or another Alvin & The Chipmunks even with their shallow and stale storylines.
Marmaduke features the voices of a presumably well-suited Wilson (Marley & Me), along with Kiefer Sutherland (just ending his tenure on Fox's "24"), Fergie (Nine) and Emma Stone (Paper Man), as well as George Lopez (Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Valentine's Day). The human cast are represented, among others, by Judy Greer, Lee Pace, and William H. Macy.
With lines like "it's raining cats and us", a little goofy wordplay and scatalogical humor there's a mediocrity able to amuse the masses as one learns of the ruling "Pedigree" class. Some cute lines include "this is the land of the Puma", "we are not accessories", and "in my country I was a lawyer" with Chinese crested and Chihuahuas on view.
Pace and Greer head a suburban family relocating to Orange County, California from Kansas with the talking Marmaduke, cat chum (Lopez) and other "talking" animals in tow. But, the family are oblivious to what they're saying as the Great Dane is able to wreak his own kind of havoc.
Tom Dey's innocuous, if forgettably predicatable film brings its conflict from a local canine run. Sutherland's baddy in Bosco, a Doberman, has a collie friend (Fergie) with eyes for the lovable Dane, just like Stone's sweet-natured mongrel. And, Macy (pretty funny in the wacky Wild Hogs) can't do much with his organic pet shop business who has a thing for going barefoot where you shouldn't.
Marmaduke for some may play out somewhere between Beethoven and the aforementioned heart-tugger with its share of messages. If it's mildly funny and not too unpleasant before its final "release" many might agree will Wilson's quips and hangdog demeanor. Even if this loose interpretation, like the comic-strip from which it's based, is more long in the tooth than frisky animal-sized fun.