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Marley & Me - not exactly the fun film I expected it to be
Marley & Me (DVD)
Member Name: jeffjen
Marley & Me (DVD)
Date: 19/03/09, updated on 20/08/09 (235 review reads)
Advantages: Good acting and some fun moments
Disadvantages: Sad ending, quite harrowing for children
I will start by saying that this is probably not the sort of film I would choose to go and see at the cinema, but in my line of work supporting people with Learning Disabilities, I often end up at the cinema. I did think it was going to be a funny/silly comedy from start to finish, which it isn't. Overall though it was better than I thought it would be.
This was not necessarily down to the actual story itself, but the acting and chemistry between its two stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, who play newly-weds John and Jenny Grogan.
Jenny has a job writing for a newspaper and John is out of work. They are jokingly following Jenny's life plans, which the next steps after marriage are for John to get a job, and for them to get a house.
It follows that John gets a job at a newspaper where his friend Sebastian works, and they move house.
Sebastian tells John to beware as the next step of 'the plans' will be for them to have a baby, and advises John the only way to avoid this for the time being is to get Jenny a pet, something else for her to focus on. This is where we are introduced to Marley the labrador pup, which John buys for Jenny, who adores Marley right away!
The only trouble is Marley practically destroys the house, particularly when there is a thunderstorm, and is very difficult to train and control. Some hilarious scenes follow, which leads to John and Jenny enrolling Marley for some dog training course, which Marley manages to be promptly expelled from!
Meanwhile John's job as a reporter is not going too well and his boss - superbly played by Alan Arkin - suggests he take over the columnists position as John wrote a piece about Marley and his antics which went down a storm with the readers.
John isn't too happy about this as does not want to be a columnist, and really wants to be a great reporter like his friend Sebastian. It does mean a pay increase though and he takes on the role of columnist, writing every week about life with Marley.
We then follow the couple through pregnancy, miscarriage, depression, tensions and John not wanting to be a columnist.
This was where I was starting to get a bit bored with the film, it all got heavy and depressing, and Marley - still as boisterous as ever. Jenny and John have another baby, then another baby and are struggling to cope with the demands of Marley and three young children. Jenny is exhausted, snappy and arguments with John ensue. John is still harbouring thoughts of his desire to be a reporter and is secretly jealous of his unmarried friend Sebastian who is a successful reporter, travelling around covering exciting news.
John eventually does get his dream job as a reporter at another newspaper in Philadelphia, and they move house again, to a very large detached house in the countryside outside Philadelphia, which I was wondering how they could afford! The storyline did seem quite unbelievable at times, even though it is based on a biographical novel by author John Grogan.
They begin their idyllic life, but Marley who is now getting old suffers ill health which again brought some sad parts to the film, and was quite upsetting , especially for children. A woman near to me with young children,was comlplaining as she thought it was a fun-filled movie from start to finish! So be prepared if you take young children to see this movie, as although it does have a lot of fun-filled moments, it also has a few sad harrowing ones.
As I mentioned earlier, the acting was good, the chemistry between Aniston and Owen was really good, and Alan Arkin also played a good role as John's boss, giving him advice on how to cope with his parenting role and being a husband.
Jennifer Aniston's love of dogs really came across well and I thought she gave a good, believable perfromance as a worn out mum of three, having to cope with an unruly boisterous dog, even though some of the storyline seemed a bit unbelievable.
It was also easy to spot that Marley was played by a number of different dogs as some looked totally different!
All in all Marley & Me is a good family film, though I did feel it was quite long and was starting to get bored in the middle.
It's not a film I would watch again however and just beware, if you are taking children, it isn't the start to finish comedy that many people have thought it would be.
Summary: Family film with both funny and sad