Marmaduke, the live-action one about the cartoon Great Dane, opens tomorrow, the latest casualty of an epidemic gripping Hollywood: The Talking-Dog Movie. The best that can be said about it is that the voice of the overeager canine is supplied by Owen Wilson, who sounds like John Wayne on laughing gas. (Similarly, Drew Barrymore and George Lopez supplied terrific voice work for Beverly Hills Chihuahua, similarly an Alpo ad posing as a feature film.)
There are a handful of talking-dog films worth talking seriously. Up (2009, that's Dug, in his cone of shame, pictured), The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989), a Japanese nature movie reinvented by Dudley Moore's invention of dialogue for the canine and feline costars) and Baxter (1991), an eerie French film about a reflective dog whose boy is a Fascist-in-training.