Posted by Ken Spivey
What follows is a brief, yet accurate, recounting of the canine endowed cinematic masterpiece, “Marley & Me.” Jennifer and John Grogan (Jennifer Aniston & Owen Wilson) are a newly wedded couple who are enjoying their new life together. John is an up-and-coming journalist whose income allows the Grogans an increasingly comfortable lifestyle. John still hangs out with his old guy pals at the bar and holds on to some of the lighter points of bachelorhood while his married life remains rather carefree. This all changes when his wife’s biological clock starts ticking. Grogan’s best friend suggests that John get his wife a dog. Following this advice, John drives his wife to a farm (which I can only assume was some sort of “puppy farm”) to pick out their family’s newest addition. Being the penny wise, upper middle class folks like they are, the Grogans pick out the least expensive “clearance puppy” and name him “Marley.” Things were fine at first, Jennifer’s need to spawn was abated and all was at peace in John’s world until they both realize that Marley is really the dog from hell. He chews up furniture, scares neighbors, barks all night, is kicked out of obedience school, and makes life miserable for the Grogan clan. Despite his flaws, Marley appears to have woven some sort of love spell upon the couple, for they now love the now massive pup.
After several years, the couple decides that a destructive and disobedient dog is not as fulfilling as they once thought, so they try to have a baby. They conceive and are a bit overly excited, so much so that when Jennifer miscarried the supposed sadness I was meant to feel was replaced with a feeling of despair. I was hoping for something, anything, that would take the focus of off this devil puppy. Much to my delight, they finally conceive, and through a series of montages, they then have two more children. Meanwhile, during the great puppy bonding years and the predictable baby conception saga, John experiences a career change from reporter to columnist. Over time, John’s column becomes rather popular, and he is offered a job as a reporter at another paper. Next, the reporter turned columnist turned reporter moves his now huge family to a very large house. Once the family arrives at this palatial estate, Marley gets sick and dies. The Grogan family then mourns the loss of the dog, and the movie ends after a series of flashbacks of the all the crazy antics and heart-felt moments the Grogans shared with their “clearance puppy” named Marley.
Honestly, I have no idea what the point of this film was. The main plot concerning the dog took up as much time as the journalist and reproductive plots. For a comedy, there were absolutely no jokes in the film. The two main characters, John and Jennifer, were not dynamic in the least; they began the movie as a loving married couple, they ended the movie with a loving married couple with three children and a dead dog. This may be a harsh recounting of the film, but it honestly it took two entire hours to tell this so called “story.” If you truly wish to see a decent film about a man and his dog, turn to a classic like “Old Yeller” or the horrible screen adaptation of Dean Koontz’s “Watchers.” “Marley & Me” is a film that will not warm your heart, but rather cause you to wonder why such a mediocre and sometimes morbid film would ever be appropriate for a Christmas time release.