on April 20, 2009
There is a lot of controversy about this movie....it seems like people either love it or hate it. I'm in between....
I did not see Marley and Me in the theaters but being a dog-lover since I was born, I was interested and borrowed the DVD from my boss a few days ago as my mother wanted to see it as well.
For all you who have heard from lots of angry parents claiming "false advertising" and "deceiving trailers", I'd like to confirm that yes, that is somewhat true. If I had young brothers or sisters or children of my own, who wanted to see a cute and funny family dog movie, "Marely and Me" is not the movie that comes to mind here.
This for two reasons:
One, the movie's focus is on the marriage of a new couple and their struggles through a married life. It doesn't soley focus on the dog, he more so takes a backseat in most of the film, apart from the first hour or so. Children will adore the puppy Marley in the beginning, but their attention will go elsewhere when things get more serious after Marley grows up.
Two, is the mature content of the movie. There are several sexual references (nothing too explicit), some profanity, and darker scenes that are definitely too intense for younger viewers. I wouldn't suggest Marley and Me to anyone under 12...or any child who has not had "The Big Talk" yet. Because these scenes are most likely going to trigger the question that must be answered with "The Big Talk". Sure, innuendo goes right over the young ones' heads. But the last scene is the real clincher. It's going to have them crying so hard that it makes me say "Please completely abandon the idea of showing the movie to a kid. They won't be able to handle it."
My best suggestions for kid-friendly, family-friendly cute dog movies with HAPPY endings and very little adult content:
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Beethoven (only the first flick)
Lassie (most mature of the three but will definitely touch your heart.)
Now that we've covered that fact that this is NOT a children's movie, onto the actual review:
It's good but it could've been a bit better. Again, for two reasons:
One, it's a bit too long. Cut a half-hour out and it'd be fine.
Two, the relationship between the family and the dog wasn't really developed enough in my opinion. Marley spent most of the movie destroying things and terrorizing people and I kept waiting for him to do something heroic or outstanding in order to redeem himself but...he doesn't, aside from a comforting scene here and there. When Owen Wilson's character comments to the vet that Marley stayed up all night to watch over their sick son, I was thought ".....what? Why didn't they show that then!?" And because of this flaw, it really takes out much of the impact the ending is supposed to have. I'm a crier, a dog lover, and very sensitive. But the most I got was slightly teary-eyed. Marley and Me's biggest mistake was that it doesn't give the viewer enough time to fall in love with Marley before it's time to say good-bye to him.
.......although if you hate crying and feeling depressed, this COULD be a good thing.
Oh, did I mention that the dog's euthanasia scene is completely milked for all it's worth? Yeah. It's like the directors are doing everything possible to get you to cry that it almost feels insulting. They drag it out so far that I was saying to myself, "Come ON...enough is enough...it's far too obvious...just STOP IT!" I don't like to be beaten over the head with stuff. Owen telling Marley that he's a great dog as he dies was the thing that triggered my tears. The sad music and the home movies, and the children's euthanologies just made me roll my eyes and say "...um....trying a little TOO hard now".
So where's the good stuff? Well, it lies in the film's originality, talented acting, and ability to tell the realistic story of a any dog owner's life. There is something here any person who has raised a puppy can relate to-all through the parts of Marely's mischeviousness, I myself kept laughing and saying "YUP, MY DOG DOES THAT!!" Some of his antics are exaggerrated but not to point beyond disbelief-and that makes it even funnier. Comments like "Now he's eating the floor" and "Now he's eating your briefcase" had my family of three burst into laughter because as dog owners, we know what it's like.
The acting is GOOD. The characterization is GOOD too. Despite what you've heard, Jennifer Aniston is NOT Rachel Greene at all in this. She's an admirable, take-charge, responsible and independent mother, who as a human of course has her limits but she only complains ONCE about it. She also still looks pretty good for her age....I'd imagine that's a bonus for you men out there who like to look at her. *laugh* And the children are all very adorable and Owen plays a good father who even when he dislikes his job, puts his family first in every choice he makes.
As many have said before, this is a good movie to see with teenagers or significant other. The romance is well-done. But also see it if you love dogs or have owned one. Whether it's dogs, romantic love, or having a family, Marley and Me most likely has at least one thing any older viewer can relate to.