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Movie Review: Marmaduke

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Author/Source: Nancy Keith

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of Marmaduke, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Marmaduke</i>


Phil Winslow has landed the perfect job working for an organic dog food company in Orange County, California. First things first, he must move his family- wife, two daughters, son and hid dog, Marmaduke- from Kansas with the promise that everything is going to be so much better...more money...better opportunities...a whole new way of life. Not everyone is happy about the move.

Marmaduke is very,very extremely loosely based on the comic strip of the same name. Basically, Marmaduke is a Great Dane who goes from mishap to mishap. One of Marmaduke’s adjustments includes getting acclimated to the social structure of the dog park. It is ripe with cliques. There are the nerds...the tough dogs…the rich dogs...the funny dogs...the atmosphere there is high school-ish. Marmaduke must find his way through this maze. There is a major teachable theme in this movie, it is about friendship. Marmaduke must learn to accept himself, stand up for himself, face his fears, learn what loyalty means and figure out what the right thing to do is...then, do it.

This is a warm family movie with plenty of laughs. The Winslow family has some bumps in the road, and Marmaduke has some of his own, but in the end we see a family committed to one another and a determination to do what is right.

Marmaduke and Phil make some bad choices in this movie. Marmaduke chooses the wrong friends...and Phil chooses work over family. In both cases, they ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged, turn from their wrong ways and do what is right.


Apparently it is impossible to have a family movie any more without someone having a flatulence problem. Guess what? Marmaduke has a tendency to pass gas. There are also poop jokes and one dog urinates into a man’s glass...then the man drinks it.

God’s name is misused a couple of times. There are several times when characters almost say a bad word. Names are called like loser, knucklehead, freak and more.

When the dogs party it is very much like a frat party. The dogs are disrespectful of their surroundings. They drink water from drains and toilets, but the behavior seems like they are drinking alcohol. It is kind of raucous, but nothing really happens.

There are somewhat violent scenes where the dogs bark, growl, sneer at, and try to attack each other. No one gets hurt. It moves the plot along.

Teachable Themes

  • Stand Up for Yourself.

  • There are always people who will try to make you feel bad about who and what you are. You are God’s workmanship and should not be ashamed.

  • Behaving Badly is a Choice.

  • Marmaduke realizes that he doesn’t have to be like Bosco to be a leader.

  • Bad Company Corrupts

  • Hanging out with the wrong people can hinder our ability to make right choices.

  • When You Do Something Wrong, Ask for Forgiveness

  • Don’t try to lie, figure out a way around or cover up...confess what you have done and ask forgiveness.

  • It’s What’s Inside that Counts

  • Marmaduke is huge and can wreak havoc, but his heart is huge.

Biblical References

  • God has a Plan for Our Lives

  • Jeremiah 29:11-12 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (NIV)

  • Make the Choice to do What is Right

  • Deuteronomy 30:19-20: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (NIV)

  • Be Careful Who You Spend Time With

  • 1 Corinthians: 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." (NIV)

    Proverbs 12:26 “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” (NLT)

  • Forgiveness

  • Colossians 3:13 “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (NLT)

  • God Will Give Us Courage to Rise Above Our Fears.

  • Deuteronomy 31: 6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT)

  • We Should Be Loyal and Faithful to Our Friends

  • John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NLT)

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever moved to a new place? What was that like?

  2. Have you ever been the new kid at school? Who was the first person you made friends with?

  3. What do you do when a new kid starts at your school?

  4. What do you do when a new kid comes to our children’s ministry?

  5. What are you afraid of? What have you done to overcome that fear?

  6. Have your parents ever made a decision for the family that you disagreed with? What happened?


Okay, so this is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it is not bad for a family movie with many teachable moments. I just will never understand why filmmakers think they need to add the crass, rude and suggestive moments. This would have been a great movie without them. I still think there is a good amount of information about friends and family to make this movie worth seeing.

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