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Marley & Me
Genre Drama
Year: 2008

Marley & Me is a film starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as young married couple, John and Jennifer Grogan, on the verge of starting a family. The sweet pair are at the stage of life when a “trial child” seems like a good idea… and this is where Marley comes in. He’s an adorable Labrador pup, who’s trouble from the get-go. Marley eats dry wall, howls at night and is a pet from Hell. Now, if you’re expecting a soppy romantic comedy with a dog, you’ll be surprised. The Grogans are committed to their pet and the potential of being responsible parents, so they deal with Marley and his “problem child” tendencies. Marley soon becomes a valuable part of the family as the Grogans start a family and John advances in his career as a columnist. The film is an adaptation of the book, Marley & Me by John Grogan and is directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada). It’s a film for pet people and is heartwarming, tear-jerking and inspiring.

Owen Wilson demonstrates a maturity in his role as John Grogan, he’s generally been typecast as an eccentric funnyman. However, this role is separate from his film career, Wilson makes an excellent choice for the part and one is reminded of Steve Carell’s turn in Dan in Real Life. He’s supported by Jennifer Aniston, whose getting used to Mom roles. She’s no stranger to pregnancies, given her history as Rachel on Friends and is a convincing Mrs Grogan, despite her immunity to flab and stretch-marks. Alan Arkin is Grogan’s advisor and manager and counterbalances the happy-go-lucky summer feel with a bit of wisdom and dreary office life. Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy) is like a Pierce Brosnan/Leonardo DiCaprio love child in every sense of the word, and works well as Grogan’s bachelor friend contrast.

Marley is a series of different Labs in their different stages of life, and despite a few inconsistencies in appearance - the dog’s character remains true. While this is a wholesome family film, it does touch of some moving issues involving pregnancy and pets, so be sure to take a tissue or two. The performances are earnest and realistic, the soundtrack has a summer upbeat feel with some old favourites, the subject matter is in-tune with life’s ups and downs and the light-hearted buoyancy keeps Marley & Me bounding along. It’s entertaining, heartwarming and fun-loving - making it an excellent choice for people wanting a movie with the right family values and an uplifting message. The movie was marketed as a full-blown romantic comedy, but the comedy is just one of the many ingredients that make Marley & Me so moving. You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy Marley & Me… it does help, but Marley is just a symbolic continuity device that links all the Grogan family’s experiences together. All in all, it’s a must-see family movie.

The bottom line: Nostalgic.

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