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FPH staff attempts to execute a podcast after a night of heavy drinking at Catbird’s. Topics include Catbird’s, the Mink, and people talking over each other. Musical guest is Lil’ Joe Washington.

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Submitted by admin on June 3, 2024 – 12:09 amNo Comment

Marmaduke lets you know exactly what he’s thinking with no bones to pick. Marmaduke is a talking dog that brackets his movie with farts. Marmaduke may have a PG layer of subversive humor beneath its fur. But make no mistake, this tale of a wisecracking Great Dane and his family of humans is strictly kid stuff (pre-teen), and perhaps for adults on drugs.

Talking animals films are a worthy sub-genre of animal and kid stories. Occasionally the lines blur and the content skews more grown-up than tyke but I’m thinking about old school efforts like Francis Covers the Big Town (1953), the 60s television show Mr. Ed, and more recently Babe. The CGI technology not only makes the animals move their mouth to form vowels and syllables in a seamless manner, it allows the filmmakers to stage a doggie dance in the park that’s worthy of similar spontaneous dance sequences in films. (Think Enchanted’s boogie in Central Park, itself copied in (500) Days of Summer.)

Marmaduke alternates between kid friendly situations and send-ups of recent movies. One particularly funny moment recalls Almost Famous and the scene where Billy Crudup, tripping his brains out, stands atop a pool house and screams, “I am a golden god.” In Marmaduke we witness a doggie rave where a similar situation occurs only the pooch yells out “I am a golden dog.”

But this makes Marmaduke sound better than its end result. Owen Wilson provides the laid back dreamy drawl that distinguishes Marmaduke’s soliloquies while a host of name voices play other mutts, pure breeds and even a kitty with a South of the border sensibility (George Lopez). The humans (a tall Lee Pace, Ellen Greer, William Macy) are truly second bananas to the animal high jinx.

- Michael Bergeron

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