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Movie Review: Marley & Me

Marley & Me: Sweet, Just as Expected

In many ways, the movie Marley & Me is itself like a sweet little squirmy puppy. It's good natured and earnest, funny and cute. It turns out to be pretty much exactly what you expect if you've seen the trailers and/or read the book on which the movie is based: Literally a story about a crazy, uncontrollable dog whose life impacts a young couple's marriage in unexpected ways.

That said, the movie is often just as much about the protagonist, John Grogan (Owen Wilson) and his relationship with his wife Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) as it is about the dog. And it's about the sacrifices we make for the ones we love — even for the ones we love who are furry and four-legged. Much of the time is spent following this husband and wife as they go through the growing pains of marriage: Finding a home (and then trying to find new homes in better neighborhoods), figuring out what they need professionally, having children, and making decisions about work goals vs. family, etc. etc. It's all very simple and normal, but there's a kind of comfort in that. For more of my thoughts on this,


In terms of the narrative itself, there's nothing new here. Marriage is harder than we thought it would be! Kids are stressful! I wish I had a different job! It's all the same old normal things that most people go through. The main difference is that all the while there's this wacky dog who makes the humans' lives even more complicated — but also ultimately more rewarding.

There's something inherently good-humored about watching the crazy antics of a dog. With human drama and relationships there's all the judging that goes on and the complex emotions, but most people really enjoy animals on a basic level so there's a sort of purity to the enjoyment that comes from this movie. However, you can be sure that the dog is used at times to symbolize things for the humans ("Time to let you off your leash . . . hey, I'd like to feel that free, too . . ."). And plenty of scenes are entirely about the human characters. These performances are good but this isn't a movie you see for the performances (though Alan Arkin's portrayal of John's no-nonsense, vaguely paternal boss is consistently a breath of fresh air).

Overall, it's just nice to have something so purely good that a whole audience can agree on: That dog is cute and funny. There are plenty of provocative, divisive films in the world and then there's this one that only asks you to relax and have a good time. It's an easygoing movie about things that feel relatable and normal to us. There's no reinvention of the wheel, but what better movie to open around the holidays than one that is so familiar and comforting?

Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I want to see this. I love dogs. That last picture is so adorable it melts my heart.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I kinda want to see this, but as a pet owner, I know the end is going to be difficult to watch.
tina57 tina57 8 years
Jen& Owen I knew you can do it. Your just so loved so sweet so beautiful.. #no1 and always will be in my book..
smileet147 smileet147 8 years
Adorable movie, just like the puppy. Jen and Owen were great, not their usual selves. And I cried like a baby at the end.
tina57 tina57 8 years
we all love the movie, including my grandchildren..
jeneeena jeneeena 8 years
cute dog..just like my tiffany!
ShePirate2010 ShePirate2010 8 years
im almost scared to watch it if its gunna make me cry, i hate
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
I love jen and owen. and I wanna see this movie but I think it might be a rental.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Oh, please.
tina57 tina57 8 years
Oh Jen I'm so Happy your hunk of a Man John Mayer flew into lax last night.. Enjoy Happy New Year.. Owen Jen & Marley you were perfect for the movie.. Thank again for that special movie..
tina57 tina57 8 years
Myself my husband & my grandchildren we loved the movie. I read the book it was such a great book and had to go on opening Day to see Marley&Me...we all loved it..
Sarana Sarana 8 years
This film has no appeal to me, probably doesn't help that I don't care about dogs at all :)
amandahugginkiss amandahugginkiss 8 years
saw the movie yesterday. liked it a lot. the direction was a bit disjointed at times. and you can tell when the dogs were switched. the dog at the end has a different face from the dog shown just 20 minutes prior. regardless, i enjoyed it. jen and owen have very good chemistry and there are some touching scenes. jen's really good in it. brings the right amount of pathos to certain scenes without being over the top. and owen, owen, pulled my heart strings when he brought marley to the vet. and marley was awesome. i laughed a bit but i really bawled my eyes out at the end. i love animals and this movie got to me. so happy they have a hit on their hands. YAY...
IHaveEsPn IHaveEsPn 8 years
i cried like a baby
carolina carolina 8 years
Saw it yesterday!!!We really enjoyed it.Great performances by the entire cast and a very touching story about marriage featuring Marley in the middle of it all!Loads of laughter and a few tears!
Fabi1 Fabi1 8 years
Estoy ansiosa por ver la pelicula!!! hasta ahora Jen va primero!! y me encanta saber eso porque es una excelente actriz!!! aqui en Argentina recién la pasan el 22/01/09 pero estaremos los fans de Jen listos para verla Besos
kmckay kmckay 8 years
i can't bring myself to see this movie- i just know that the dog must die and i can never handle that in movies! i'm sure it's awfully sweet though :)
cherrypop cherrypop 8 years
Great book and movie! Loved it! :)
coachluvr33 coachluvr33 8 years
Taking my daughter to see this tomorrow. Good review. Thanks!!!
peachy-thing11 peachy-thing11 8 years
so good! i cried
littlebmac littlebmac 8 years
I loved this movie! I really enjoyed the book that I read last year. Jen and Owen are great but the scene stealer is Marley, who you couldn't help falling in love with! His antics are hilarious. A great movie that shows appreciation for family and the love for their beloved pet.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
So looking forward to seeing this one. Great movie weekend, for sure. Thanks, Buzz.
lexie4 lexie4 8 years
Great movie. All the family loved it.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
So where's the one for Benjamin Button. I still have no interest in this movie.
iluvfashion2 iluvfashion2 8 years
My hubby & I BOTH loved it. (there's a first). One of the only movies in a long time that I left feeling like I want to stay married, make it work through hard times & grow older together. Also thought Jen & Owen had BRILLIANT chemistry together. Loved Marley & cried like a baby. Highly recommend as well. Feel good movie of the ages.
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