I actually did not mind watching our previous film The Women. Unfortunately that means we’ll inevitably turn around and do some film that’s a giant pile of dog poo in our face. Not looking like it’ll be any different here. For the Chain Reaction we are jumping from A Dog’s Purpose through it’s star Josh Gad straight into another dog-centric film. That’s right! We’re watching Marmaduke! What should have been a slam dunk success (what kid doesn’t like talking animals?) turned out to be a critical and financial train wreck (hooray?). In it Josh Gad played *squints at casting sheet* Bandana Dog… huh. Alrighty. This film is of course about the titular great dane from the old comic strip that essentially asks the question: what if you had a dog that might be just a little too big? Presumably big laughs as he gets into all kinds of zany situations… sigh. This is gonna be a tough one. Let’s go!
Marmaduke (2010) – BMeTric: 66.4
(So sometimes it is hard to tell: is that regression to the mean? Or is it basically people who didn’t watch the movie shitting on it in 2010 and then forgetting about it (allowing people who have watched the film to give it a more appropriate 4/10 review)? A combination of both actually makes the most sense. With regression to the mean you aren’t regressing to the overall mean (although I sometimes use it that way). You are regressing to the film’s mean rating. The early reviewers might be more discriminatory (or more lax) than the general population, but eventually with enough votes it will get to where it is truly meant to be. This suggests the film is bad (a rating of 4 is objectively bad), but that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the initial reactions suggest (a rating of 2 is an all time bad film). Sounds innocuous to be honest, which doesn’t not bode well for the Bad Movie Twins.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Fans of the long-running comic strip by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming may be surprised to learn that Marmaduke, the humongous Great Dane who often tests the patience of this “two-legger” owners, speaks in a lazy hipster voice (supplied by Wilson) that suggests a California stoner. Unfortunately, that’s one of the very few novelties in this otherwise derivative, unimaginative comedy that relies heavily on the intermingling of human actors in thankless parts and CGI-tweaked live animals voices by familiar actors. Strictly kid stuff.
(Oh no, strictly kid stuff. I want to point out something: this is one of the longest reviews I’ve ever seen in a Leonard Maltin book. In other reviews they will insert abbreviations awkwardly, seemingly just to get them a character or two shorter. Why would Marmaduke be allowed this luxurious review length? No idea.)
(Dance scene alert. That better be during a post-credits bloopie reel. Loving the music, loving the setting (California is basically a character), and loving the Black-Eyed Peas shout with Fergie getting ludicrously high billing. Everything about this suggests I will hate-love this film.)
Directors – Tom Dey – (Known For: Shanghai Noon; Future BMT: Showtime; BMT: Marmaduke; Failure to Launch; Notes: Interesting that he has almost nothing in the pipeline. Did a commercial reel which landed him at Ridley Scott’s production company, which lead to his (almost exclusively) directorial career.)
Writers – Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio (written by) – (Future BMT: Smother; BMT: Marmaduke; License to Wed; Notes: Interesting. They are writing partners it looks like. But Di Meglio is also a visual artist on a number of films including Miss Congeniality and Hansel & Gretel.)
Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming (comic) – (BMT: Marmaduke; Notes: Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming created the original strip. Anderson created it, and Leeming helped for the first ten or so years of its run.)
Actors – Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; Wedding Crashers; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Cars; Inherent Vice; Midnight in Paris; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; The Royal Tenenbaums; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Zoolander; Night at the Museum; No Escape; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; Marley & Me; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; The Darjeeling Limited; The Cable Guy; Meet the Parents; She’s Funny That Way; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; I Spy; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Father Figures; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Y’all know Owen Wilson. Has had a working relationship with Wes Anderson throughout both of their careers. Shanghai Dawn with Jackie Chan is currently in the works.)
Judy Greer – (Known For: War for the Planet of the Apes; Jurassic World; Ant-Man; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; The Village; Tomorrowland; 13 Going on 30; 27 Dresses; Love & Other Drugs; Our Souls at Night; The Descendants; Carrie; What Women Want; Three Kings; Wilson; Adaptation.; Lemon; Neko no ongaeshi; Grandma; All We Had; Future BMT: Cursed; The Wedding Planner; Jawbreaker; Love Happens; Kissing a Fool; Peep World; Elizabethtown; Addicted to Fresno; I Love Your Work; Entourage; The Amateurs; Men, Women & Children; BMT: Marmaduke; Playing for Keeps; Notes: If you saw her you’d recognize her, she is a well known comedic character actor. I know her best as Kitty from Arrested Development. She had her directorial debut, A Happening of Monumental Proportions, in early 2017.)
Lee Pace – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Lincoln; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; The Fall; The Good Shepherd; A Single Man; Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day; The Program; Infamous; The White Countess; Ceremony; Future BMT: The Resident; 30 Beats; The Book of Henry; BMT: Marmaduke; When in Rome; Notes: Maybe most well known for his television work, including the lead in Pushing Daisies. He was a dwarf in The Hobbit franchise, and owns a farm.)
Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $33,644,788 (Worldwide: $83,761,844)
(I wouldn’t say it is a bomb, but they would have wanted to crack $100 I think. Especially considering how well the Chipmunk franchise was doing around this time. These things are so easy to make I can kind of understand why you just dump it and move onto the next one honestly.)
#26 for the Dog genre
(I’m going to field a guess here: I think the basically seven year gap in Dog movies after 2010 was partially a reaction to Marmaduke and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, partially that films like those ended up going direct-to-VOD after 2010, and partially because big kids’ films started just using cheap animation instead of animals at the time. Fascinating stuff. And A Dog’s Purpose was the first Dog movie we watched for BMT as far as I can tell. And I love dogs.)
#28 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre
(Hot to Trot was also our firsts. 2017 really was a year of firsts for BMT. This came right at the peak, like the tippy top before the fall. Again, I think it is because talking animal movies are released to VOD now. Why would you bother going to a theater to watch Garfield 5 when the kids are going to be distracted anyways and your house is quiet and comfortable? Kind of inevitable that big releases like this would eventually die off, not really worth it.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (9/100): Dull and unfunny, Marmaduke offers family filmgoers little more than another round of talking animals and scatological humor.
(Brutalized. Yeah, this is kind of why we shy away from the family friendly affairs here at the BMT Media Empire HQ. Dull, unfunny, kid humor. Almost never a rewarding combination. I’m kind of loving the very matter of fact Reviewer Highlight: Lines like “Get your bark on,” “Who let the dogs out?” and “Cowabarka” abound. Many of the jokes revolve around excretory functions. – Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post)
Poster – Marmasklog (F)
(I do not like the contrasting blue and red colors there. Jarring and frankly ugly. And don’t pretend Marmaduke is too big for the title to be on the poster, you are just depriving people like me from seeing what garbage font the graphical design intern painstakingly chose during their lunchbreak. No one called him “the Duke”, everything about this makes me angry actually.)
Tagline(s) – Live Large (C-)
(We get it: Marmaduke is a big dog. Then again, wasn’t that the point of the comic strip? Wasn’t it just about a dog that was just too big for the house and family to deal with? So … fine I’ll bump it up to a passing grade … barely.)
Keyword(s) – great dane; Top Ten by BMeTric: 66.8 Scooby-Doo (2002); 66.4 Marmaduke (2010); 62.9 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); 33.6 The Other Woman (2014); 32.2 Good Boy! (2003); 29.6 Committed (I) (2000); 24.0 Teenage Cave Man (1958); 16.8 The Heat (I) (2013); 13.3 Oliver & Company (1988); 10.8 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001);
(Huh … well a lot of those don’t qualify, but still a little nuts this is the first Great Dane film we’ve seen. The Scooby-Doos have to happen because they are on the Calendar though.)
Notes – The film has the distinction of featuring two dog farts, three urine gags, two hits to the groin, one animal belch, two record scratch moments and two uses of the phrase “Who let the dogs out?” (This IMDb user is doing the Lord’s work)
Twin dogs were used for the titular character. (Twin film!!!)
Ron Perlman was originally cast as the voice of Chupadogra, but for unknown reasons, Sam Elliott took over the role.
Amanda Seyfried was the first choice for Mazie.
In the original comics, Marmaduke never talked. (uuuuuuugh)
In 2010, George Lopez, who does the voice of Carlos, the cat, was accused of being extremely rude to a fan and refusing to take a picture with her. The fan turned out to be a Mexican radio show personality and she had taken the incident to live radio.Mexican radio show personality, La Vozalona (Marlene Quinto), as part of the Mexican radio show, “El Show de Don Cheto”, said that she had met George Lopez at a Cuban restaurant. When she saw that he had finished eating and was on his way out, she approached him near the exit of the restaurant. While he was taking a picture with a fan, she had asked to take a picture with him, to which she said he became very rude and disrespectful. She had to wait and was told that “even Mexicans have manners and say please”. Confused, La Vozalona said she told Lopez she was a big fan and one of his many followers on Twitter. In response, Lopez told her to shut up and take the picture. La Vozalona said she told Lopez to stop being rude or else she would “burn” him on talk radio. He responded with a, “What, you think I care?”.This was very surprising for many and many considered Lopez a big hypocrite for the incident, considering he had also been criticizing and ridiculing _CHiPs (1977)_ star ‘Erik Estrada’ for many years. This prior incident, like his most recent, was for not shaking his hand and refusing to sign an autograph, while Estrada filmed an episode of CHiPs near Lopez’s neighborhood. (Do I leave this in the preview? It seems so crazy that this long-winded story is on the Marmaduke page, … like it has nothing to do with Marmaduke. Why is it here? It is just so crazy I can’t stop thinking about it … I hope it gives someone else as much confusion-joy)
Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (George Lopez)