Come back, Scooby-Doo, all is for­given

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

IF YOU ARE plan­ning on adapt­ing un­likely bits of the news­pa­per for the movies, then con­sider the death notices or the sit­u­a­tions va­cant or the ski­ing weather. Any­thing other than that dispir­it­ing Marmaduke car­toon.

A creaky residue from the 1950s, the strip has, for too long, done stirling work in the field of stretch­ing the same bad joke to – and be­yond – the break­ing point. The dog is big. He’s so big his head sticks out of the car’s re­tractable roof. The dog is big. He’s so big that walkies leads to own­ers be­ing lifted clean off their feet. The dog is big. And so on. This, kids, is how an­i­mal lovers got their laughs be­fore YouTube came along.

To be fair, the mak­ers of the pre­dictably ap­palling film ver­sion have added one more joke. The dog farts. Yikes. If pri­mates had evolved at the same rate as the Marmaduke in­dus­try we’d still be pick­ing ticks from each oth­ers’ rec­tums.

Mind you, it would not be ac­cu­rate to say the film-mak­ers have skimped in the plot depart­ment. Flip­ping the bird to the mak­ers of Garfield: A Tail of Two Kit­ties (a nar­ra­tive tri­fle by com­par­i­son) the team in­volves Marmaduke (voiced by a de­pressed Owen Wil­son) in the sort of com­plex ro­man­tic shenani­gans you’d ex­pect to en­counter in a Fey­deau farce. There’s a posh lady dog. There’s a good-hearted lady mutt. Marmaduke’s owner has to dress up as a Moun­tie to im­press his boss, but, cru­cially, for­gets that this is the night the vicar is com­ing to din­ner.

Yeah, yeah, I made some of this up. You have to find some way of keep­ing the brain ac­tive dur­ing the long, achingly frozen hours.

The dog is big.


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