Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson star as Jenny and John Grogan, a young couple contemplating the life-changing decision to start a family. Then comes Marley...an adorable but rambunctious Labrador who flunks obedience school and in no time at all turns the Grogan home into a disaster area. Amidst the mayhem he generates through the years, Marley sees the Grogans through the ups and downs of life- and that they come to realize that the "world's worst dog" somehow brings out the best in them.
Perhaps it’s that cute little puppy or perhaps it’s the pairing of Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston on that DVD cover that makes you screams 'chick flick!' but rather "Marley & Me" has much more to offer than what you would have originally expected.
Owen and Jennifer play John and Jenny Grogan, a pair of newly-wed who escaped the wintery Michigan to settle in sunny Florida. They got themselves new jobs at respective news agencies and Jenny starts to have idea of raising children. At the advice of his friend Sebastian, John got Jenny a Labrador puppy for her impending birthday but in reality it’s a distraction. It’s a move by the hesitant John to divert Jenny’s plan.
As far as life goes, it’s never as smooth as it gets. The cute Labrador named Marley which the Grogans adopt from a shelter is a boisterous one. He humps people’s legs, destroys furniture and had a rousing appetite. Sure, you might find it amusing in the beginning but when the Grogan’s first newborn, Patrick arrived, things start to get a bit rough and the once loving couple starts to bicker over Marley’s hyperactive behaviour and family matters.
The first half of the movie flows like a typical chick flick I must say. Lovely couple plus a cute dog - the winning formula for a successful date movie. However, as the movie goes, it slowly transcends into a mirror reflection of a typical married couple. John is envious of Sebastian’s freestyling way. Advancing career and still making waves in the singles circle while he himself is stuck in his job of writing daily columns in which he detests though the money is comfortable enough for his growing family to move to a more upscale neighbourhood. Jenny on the other hand has to quit her successful career to take care of her brood of two, wait three kids and yes Marley. The stress, the quarrels and struggles faced by individual spouse marred the married life of the Grogans.
Despite the ups and downs of the humans, Marley remains as it is. He is still Marley. He pees on the carpet, he goes to the beach with John and he is also a faithful companion to the Grogans’ growing brood of kids. Director John Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) did a marvellous job balancing humour, drama and a little thing called ‘life’ into the movie. Of course, the chemistry between Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston is undeniable which makes the whole affair seems even more believable.
I strongly recommend "Marley & Me" if you missed the initial theatrical run. Don’t simply write it off as a typical romance chick flick or just another 'dog' movie. It has so much bittersweet moments that will leave you both in tears and stitches.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Deleted Scenes – There are over 25 minutes of deleted and extended scenes here with optional director commentary. Personally I found most of the footages are highly watchable but alas left on the cutting floor due to time constraint. Enjoy!
Finding Marley – Over 22 dogs are cast for the role of Marley. This is a good 7 minutes feature that details how the trainers got them to perform for their role.
Breaking the Golden Rule – This feature is sort of a continuation to the one above which delves into the difficulties of working with dogs on the movie set.
On Set with Marley: Dog of all Trades – A tongue-in-cheek segment in which Marley 'makes' his own movie short.
Animal Adoption – Wish to get a dog for your family? This 5 minutes featurette tells you its perfectly ok to adopt a pet from pet shelters instead of buying one from the pet shops.
Gag Reel – Self-explanatory. 5 minutes of NG moments with the cast.
When not to Pee – Shows how the crew magically uses two dogs (one who pee and one who don’t) for a single scene.
This is apparently not a movie to showcase your Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system owing to the movie genre. Dialogue is clear and dog barking is essentially loud and aggressive. The 2.35 widescreen presentation is pristine, colours are rich but not fantastic enough to awe you.
by Linus Tee