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Devin Douglas Drewitz,
"The Duke" is a film based in the heart of the British aristocracy where an old Duke (John Neville) dies and to avoid his large property and the vast riches to be taken from him after death by 2 devious aristocrats (Oliver Muirhead and Sophie Heyman); he passes his Dukeship down to his dog. The dog's "best friend", an American girl named Charlotte (played by Courtnee Draper) whose parents die becomes orphaned by the former Duke due to him being her great uncle. A young chef named Florian arrives, with him and Charlotte instantly connecting creating a romantic sub-plot which in its own way, acts as the under tone for the main plot line being the activities of Hubert, The 'Duke' and his many activities and love interests with other dogs. All this is watched over by James Doohan who plays a Butler who is determined to try and serve his old Duke by doing his best to serve his new master, Hubert. Doohan acts as the older character there to comfort and advise the younger ones whilst he over looks and performs various ridiculous tasks under his new master. A fine comedic performance mixed with elements of drama to end the career of a fine and influential actor.
Though from the technical viewpoint, I dislike this film as I only watched upon discovering James Doohan's role. Though the plot is good, elements of the writing and directing have to be obscured. Ignoring the absurdity of a "Doggie Duke", I personally dislike the over use of comedic and outrageous jokes upon the 'bad' characters due to their ludicrousness. The dependence on hygiene related humour as you like is much too apparent and general silliness of many characters doesn't appeal to me. The director, Phillip Spink uses mid-long shots too often with either an overdubbed voice or affecting the overall sound quality. Plus, the acting of Muirhead and Heyman, whilst good at the dramatic and romantic sequences, fall drastically short fulfilling the wholesale requirements regarding the role.
But, as a mature movie fan, I find it easy to be over critical of a simple family film designed to make you laugh. I can admit I found certain bits funny and other bits touching along with a plot that may be far-fetched, but has definite connections. I do not recommend this film to mature movie fans but I do highly recommend it to Dog lovers, families who wish to enjoy a funny film for their child and James Doohan fans who wish to see 'Scotty' in his final role.
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