I was skeptical that 'Marley & Me' would be a horribly sappy story with an overly cute dog and no plot whatsoever. Well, I wound out watching it when I was sick and nothing else was on, and I was so very wrong about it. I was smitten – overwhelmed – by how good the movie is. Yes, it's sappy in places, but it's still a great movie. There's both comedy and tragedy, and some surprisingly good acting even from the normally amateurish Jennifer Aniston. Owen Wilson is fantastic as always, he never fails to surprise me with his ability to perform. In watching, I discovered that the movie is based on a real life story, told in the book 'Marley & Me' by John Grogan.
The movie starts with John Grogan's (Owen Wilson) marriage to Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) during a freak spring blizzard. They move to south Florida, get jobs, buy a house ... and to avoid filling the spare room too quickly with children, John buys a Labrador puppy which they name Marley (after Bob Marley). From the beginning, Marley is trouble with a capitol T. He humps everything in sight (especially poodles), fails obedience class, weighs 100 lbs and pulls them everywhere on the leash, eats mangos, chews up everything in sight, and is generally a bad, disobedient dog.
Grogan's family finally expands with the birth of their first child, Patrick, and Marley continues to be an important part of their life. There's fun, frolicking, and frisky adventure whenever Marley is involved.
'Marley & Me' is the life story of Marley, so get ready for some tears along with the laughs. It's a surprisingly pleasant story of a family growing and developing, along with a dog that never listens and is afraid of thunderstorms. The movie is saved from being too sweet by showing the tragedies of life too, such as Jenny miscarrying her first baby, and their second son suffering with colic. Great performance by Kathleen Turner as the dog trainer, and Alan Arkin as Grogan's boss Arnie Klein.
The screenwriter and director did an excellent job of capturing Grogan's tale of Life, starting with early marriage and two people in love with good careers and a happy life, through the birth and raising of their children and the difficulties faced by everyday life in aging and raising children and balancing homelife with careers, and eventually turning forty. Don't miss out on the book either, John Grogan is an excellent writer.
Like I said, the movie really surprised me at how good it is – a solid 5 stars! Don't miss out on this fun, well acted, well directed, and well written story. Enjoy!
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