Marley & Me

"Bad"

Marley & Me Review


Animal films are critical landmines. Step wrong, opinion-wise, and readers will accuse you of being everything from heartless and insensitive to PETA's public enemy number one. Clearly, Old Yeller and other four-footed tearjerkers have made canines the noblest of our beloved domesticated friends. After topping the bestseller's list with his autobiographical memoir Marley and Me, journalist John Grogan is seeing his tale of the world's worst pooch finally make it to the big screen -- and it's time to get out the tar and feathers. Instead of being uplifting and heartwarming, this excruciating effort is 90 minutes of mediocrity followed by 10 minutes of the most manipulative, mean-spirited pap ever put into a movie made for families.

When they get married, reporters John Grogan (Owen Wilson) and his new bride Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) picture themselves setting the Fourth Estate on fire. Eventually, they end up in South Florida where she handles hot button political and social stories. He, on the other hand, is relegated to writing about building fires and lame local oddities. When his sourpuss editor (Alan Arkin) offers him a column, John is unsure what to do. Taking inspiration from the new dog named Marley he just adopted, our scribe is soon scribbling stories about how this cute-as-a-button Labrador retriever is evil incarnate. Labeled "the world's worst dog," Marley lives up to the title. Even as the Grogans grow older and raise a family, they still don't know what to do with their destructive hound from Hell.

Marley and Me is mush. If the orphans in Oliver Twist were served this particular brand of syrupy slop, they'd refuse seconds and secretly discard the portion they already had. This is warm and fuzzy as crass and calculated. Director David Frankel, who did a much better job of bringing Lauren Weisberg's The Devil Wear Prada to the silver screen, bifurcates everything, from the Grogans' newlywed dilemmas (she's successful, he's not) to the overriding troubles with Marley (he's adorable, and then deplorable). Nowhere is there a balance. Nowhere do we feel like the endless angst that John feels over his career will have any bearing on how Marley likes to eat drywall and drink from the commode.

The dog is really nothing more than comic relief here -- and he's a poor laugh-getter at that. After all, is there anything new or novel about a pup that pees on the floor, howls when he's alone, and chases after anything smaller than him? Are we supposed to find the endless arguments between Wilson and the certified entertainment void Aniston interesting or compelling? While set in the '80s and '90s, there is very little to indicate the era we're in, and both actors toss in euphemisms and sayings straight out of a 2008 improv manual. Even the formerly fetching Kathleen Turner is forced to play fat, angry, and monstrous. As a domineering dog trainer, she gets a single shocking scene and then disappears.

But the most appalling part of this film is the ending. Without spoiling too much (readers of the book, and anyone with common sense, already knows what happens), a decision must be made about an aging Marley, and for several intolerable minutes we watch as owner and doctor go about their... "business." It makes the finale of The Mist seem upbeat by comparison. In the grand scheme of mass marketing ideas, who thought watching a favored pet "buy the farm" in exacting, step-by-step detail was a good idea? Brian's Song didn't have this protracted of a sendoff for James Caan. Overlong and overwrought, Marley and Me doesn't do its source material justice. Instead of being heartwarming, it's soul crushing.

Release the hounds!!!



Marley & Me

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th December 2008

Box Office USA: $143.1M

Box Office Worldwide: 15

Budget: 60

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Sunswept Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 87 Rotten: 51

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Kevin Halloran, Karen Rosenfelt

Starring: as John Grogan, as Jennifer Grogan, as Sebastian Tunney, as Ms. Kornblut, as Arnie Klein, as Patrick (Age 10), as Lisa, as Dr. Platt, as Editor, Finley Jacobsen as Conor (Age 8), Lucy Merriam as Colleen (Age 5), as Patrick (Age 7), Ben Hyland as Conor (Age 5), Sarah O'Kelly as Neighbor Mom, Keith Hudson as Big Guy, as Debby, Tom Irwin as Dr. Sherman, as Jorge, as Lori, as Mrs. Butterly, Zabryna Guevara as OB-GYN Nurse, Megan Grace as Secretary, Haley Higgins as Shannon, Ana Ayora as Viviana, Matthew J. Walters as Billy, Nicole Herold as Sunbather, Paul Tei as Dude, Gaston Renaud as Metro Reporter, Angelina Assereto as Waitress, Emmett Robin as Boy, Lisa Varga as Still Photographer, Dylan Henry as Patrick (Age 3), Stephen Lee Davis as Neighbor Steve, Michael Baskin as Party Guy Michael, Bradley Frishman as Patrick (Age 20 Months), Eric Conger as Newscaster

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.