Review: Marley and Me

Marley and Me (2008)
120 minutes
Rated – PG
Directed by David Frankel
Starring: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Alan Arkin


Grade:  C-

Here is the story about the world’s worst dog, but the world’s worst dog is certainly better than the best hamster, right?  Based on the 2005 best-selling book, Marley and Me takes you on John and Jennifer Grogan’s adventure through the ups and downs of marriage that includes parenting, searching for a home, juggling work and family, and raising their dog, Marley.

How does Marley qualify as the world’s worst dog?  It might be a harsh title until you see the chaos and destruction this Labrador dishes out.  But through it all, the Grogan family has to love Marley.  I’m sure the viewer certainly did.

Marley and Me is a very cliche family film that never really sinks its paws into anything too deep to prevent it from its universal appeal.  There was a lot of potential throughout the movie that offered the dog as a gimmick and a distraction to the heavier issues at stake.  The relationship between John and Jennifer seemed authentic for brief moments only to have the sugar-coat of Hollywood bury it.

But I guess that wasn’t the point of the film.  I guess the point was that no matter how much of a mess Marley made or how messy the Grogan’s situation got, their love for each other overpowered and outlasted it all.   That’s a pretty fine message for a family film, don’t you think?

Overall, Marley and Me does what it sets out to do fairly well.  It makes you go “aww” when you see the puppies, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston make you laugh, and the conclusion makes you weep like a baby.  Although these are all different emotions to be felt throughout the span of a two-hour movie, I could not have been more bored on the ride.


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