Among the many crushing disappointments associated with the upcoming Marmaduke film — that it exists, that grown-ups spent money to create it, etc. — is the discovery that the MPAA has rated it PG “for some rude humor and language.” That’s pretty much how all children’s movies are rated these days: a couple fart jokes, maybe someone says “damn,” and that’s it. There’s your PG rating. Yawn.
The sensible people at Twentieth Century Fox didn’t pre-screen “Marmaduke” in the places where Film.com lives, so we can’t say for sure whether it’s really awful or just sort of terrible. But we can say with some certainty that we would love to see a “Marmaduke” that wasn’t so cautious and family friendly. Here are…
Our Ideas for Marmaduke As an R-Rated Horror
The Winslows are a normal suburban family, with a mom, a dad, and three kids. The only thing missing is a dog!
Burdened by this void in their lives, the Winslows go to an animal shelter that, unbeknownst to them, was constructed on an ancient Indian burial ground. There they adopt Marmaduke, a terrifyingly large Great Dane whose fearsome bark sends chills down the spine of any sentient creature within a five-block radius. Marmaduke is the size of a horse and has a voracious appetite. FOR BLOOD. And also for Snausages but MOSTLY FOR BLOOD.
At first the Winslow family is delighted by Marmaduke’s antics, to say nothing of his shenanigans and tomfoolery. Marmaduke knocked over a lamp! Doh! Marmaduke jumped up on the couch! Oh no! Marmaduke saw a squirrel in the park and pulled so hard on his leash that it ripped Mr. Winslow’s arm out of its socket! Ba-zoing!
But soon, neighborhood dogs and cats start to go missing, followed by neighborhood elderly people and neighborhood hobos. All the while, Marmaduke has what appears to be a limitless supply of bones to bury in the backyard. Any attempt to examine the bones is met with a sinister, guttural growl emanating from Marmaduke’s hellish maw. Marmaduke has been kind and gentle to the Winslows … so far. Who knows how long that will last?
One night, Mr. and Mrs. Winslow leave the children with a babysitter while they go out to dinner. When they return, they discover that Marmaduke has devoured the babysitter. All that remains of her is a smashed cell phone, a half-eaten mathematics textbook, and blood. So much blood. So, so much blood. Every square inch of the Winslows’ tasteful four-bedroom house is sodden with the blood of the devoured babysitter.
Oh, Marmaduke! You rascal!
Now the Winslows are in a pickle. They lock Marmaduke in the bathroom and try to calm the shrieking, panic-stricken children. Mr. Winslow, remembering an old contact from when he was involved in organized crime, places a telephone call to the Wolf. The Wolf is an actual wolf (Canis lupus) who possesses human-like powers of speech and reasoning, and who is an expert at cleaning up crime scenes and disposing of evidence. The Wolf descends on the Winslow home and has things taken care of in no time, whereupon he departs.
There’s just one problem left.
What to do about Marmaduke?
The malevolent canine has clearly gone to the dark side. Still locked in the bathroom, his vicious snarls echo off the tile in a cacophony of doom. The door will only hold him back for so long. The Winslows know that once he breaks free, he will tear apart anything in his path, viciously shredding it with his razor-sharp demon-teeth.
And that’s apart from the leg-humping.
My goodness, the leg-humping.
The Winslows do the only thing they can: They set the bathroom on fire. As Marmaduke howls in agony, flames searing his monstrous flesh in a preview of the eternal torment that awaits him in hell, the Winslows flee to safety and call the fire department. They hope the rest of the house can be salvaged. If not, that’s OK too. It’s a small price to pay to be rid of Marmaduke the hell-hound once and for all.
Little do they know that the dog next door was in heat last week, and Marmaduke “visited” her before he died….