Film review: Marley & Me (2008), directed by David Frankel
A story about an unruly yellow Labrador Retriever dog – what’s not to love? Miami journalist John Grogan (Owen Wilson) is a bit scared of the prospect of getting a baby with wife Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston), so to distract her, he decides to give her a puppy as a birthday present. Little did they know what they got themselves into.
Marley, the “clearance puppy” (they could have him a lot cheaper – the owner conveniently wouldn’t say why), soon turns out to be the unruliest dog in existence. He’s wild, he chews on everything, he’s afraid of thunder, he’s boisterous and even the dog trainer (Kathleen Turner – nice to see her again, been a while) kicks him off the class because he’s a bad influence on the other dogs! However, they learn to live with him, and learn to love him.
John gets promoted to columnist at the paper he works for, and he’s not thrilled. His best friend (Eric Dane) keeps going off on serious trips about South American drug gangs and other “important” things for the New York Times. And where’s he? Some local paper, writing a bloody column. But then he starts writing about Marley, and as it turn out, he’s got quite a knack for it.
He even decides having children isn’t as scary any more …
A biopic about a couple and their dog – and later their children – might not sound like the most enticing plot in the world, but it’s touching. Based on a true story and bestseller Marley & Me definitely reminds me of why I prefer cats over dogs, but not every dog is as much of a handful as Marley, obviously. I do know, however, that even if they aren’t as “bad” as him, they still are too much for me. Yet I still love them. Just not as keen as I am with cats.
The house in the countryside was fab. I want one of those, including the scenery. I loved the snow and the autumn colours. Also loved the relationship between John and Marley, to change subject completely. Could you call it a “bromance”? It won a Teen Choice Award for it. There should be more pet movies. And I mean good ones, this kind of thing, not Lassie or Homeward Bound or Garfield. Films that show that animals are very much family members, and not just, well, animals.
Any film that has me well on the way of welling up half an hour before it finishes at the mere thought of what might happen and then spending the final fifteen minutes of it in tears … and I even get that familiar tingle in my nose (that I always get before the tears come) writing this half an hour later, while watching a comedy show on telly … then you’ve pretty much nailed it. Mr T (who came downstairs half-way through the film) commented from the other side of the room that he was glad he wasn’t emotionally invested in it, considering my sobs. Good film, very emotional.
4 out of 5 chew toys.