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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Movie Review:Marley & Me

Premise:A couple adopts a puppy in the midst of their life.

Cast:Owen Wilson as John Grogan, Jennifer Aniston as Jenny Grogan, Eric Dane as Sebastian, Alan Arkin as Arnie Klein

Director:David Frankel

MPAA Rating:PG for thematic material, some suggestive content, and language

Genres:Comedy, drama

Notes:Based on John Grogan's autobiography. Set in the 90's. Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Some emotional moments. Good main characters. The marriage.

Cons:Moves too fast. Not that funny. Flat secondary characters.

If you've ever had a puppy, then you know they are a handful. Sometimes, they don't mellow out when they get older. But he can still be kind of fun.

The trailers probably made you think this is just a childish comedy about a misbehaving dog. It sort of is, but it's more a drama about a couple living their life from marriage to kids to middle age. And because of its approach to that, it should have been PG-13. This should not have been marketed to families because it's just not that kind of movie, despite what it may think.

Part of the problem is it moves too fast. It goes from the wedding night to adopting Marley to him as a puppy causing trouble to him growing up and causing trouble in the course of 30 minutes. It doesn't slow down long enough to really let much resonate. I went back and forth on the acting. Sometimes I thought it was a redeeming feature, other times it seemed terrible.

The relationship between John and Jenny isn't turned into Hollywood mush. Even though they love each, they fight sometimes. But they pull through. The rest of the characters besides Marley, meh.

Overall, it's not as good as it could have been. If you're a dog lover, maybe, but otherwise skip it.

Sex:John and Jenny kiss and talk about their sex life and having kids. They kiss passionately prior to having sex. Once, she strips naked and dives in the pool. Another time she calls him to say there's a naked woman in his bed (she actually isn't). John replies "Why don't you two get started and I'll be there as soon as I can." Other references to sex are made.
John's buddy Sebastian is something of a ladies man. It's mentioned he has two girlfriends at one point. Cleavage is shown. Women wear just bikinis. Men are shown without shirts. A man calls himself easy. It's mentioned a woman got four boob jobs. A couple makes out on the beach.
When Jenny is getting an ultrasound, John talks about finding out the gender, then quickly adds he doesn't care whether it's a boy or a girl, then says something about "unambiguous genitalia." Marley steals a towel from the housesitter (who runs offscreen nude) and pesters her while she's in the shower (the curtain blocks anything beyond a general silhouette). He also steals a pair of Jenny's underwear and humps various things (including other dogs). As Marley is taken to be neutered, John tells him sex is overrated, but then says that's a lie.

Violence:Marley destroys a lot of various items (mostly played for laughs). He tries to climb out of a moving car, tackles a dog trainer, and drags people and a table when he's on the leash. Jenny complains he may have dislocated her shoulder. John's boss talks about his wife staring at him with a meat cleaver. Violent news stories are mentioned.
More seriously, a girl is stabbed (though she survives). One pregnancy results in a miscarriage. A hurricane hits near where the protagonists live, but they come out okay. John goes to the emergency room after he cuts his leg on a piece of coral. A woman mentions her brother died in a fire in the very room she's in.

Marley gets sick and dies.
End spoilers

Drugs/Alcohol:People drink several times. John says he used to do bong hits. Sebastian mentions a news story about drug trafficking. Someone tries to give Marley sedatives (she's advised to push them down his throat as far as they can go).

Language/Insults:"Sh*t" is used a couple times. Also "G*d", "h*ll", "crap", "d**n", "frigging", "J*sus", "a**", "bas**rd", "p*ss", and "b**ch".

Gross stuff:Marley pees on the carpet and drinks out of the toilet (apparently, the Grogans try to stop him by closing the lid and putting a brick on top). When he swallows a necklace, John has to search his feces for it. A big rule on a dog beach is no pooping or peeing in the water. Marley didn't get the memo. He's seen eating his own vomit. John shares some scraps of cake with him.
Morning sickness is mentioned. The housesitter is told to use the blue poop-scooper and watch her step. She's told the odd color is normal because Marley liked mangoes. John and Jenny argue over who changes their baby. The kids complain when Marley farts.

Spiritual:When John and Jenny end up in a hotel, they talk about having sex and being willing to do it in front of a picture of Jesus and one of Mary, but not a creepy doll. The phrases "God rest his soul" and "God bless you" are used. John says a squeak is not coming from bed springs, it's the shrieks of oversexed souls in hell. Marley is called evil with a dog face. A song mentions finding God.

So what did you think?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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