Written by Senora Bicho
When I saw the first trailer for Marley & Me, I was not aware that it was based on a popular autobiographical book written by John Grogan, who also worked on the screenplay. I thought it looked silly and had no interest in seeing it at all. Once I heard about the book from a friend and some good things about it, I started to change my mind. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are not my favorite actors but I do usually enjoy them, so when the chance to review it came up, I thought it would be a nice break from my usual crime fare.
John (Wilson) and Jennifer (Aniston) Grogan are a young married couple on the rise. They are both journalists but Jennifer is the more successful of the two. After getting settled in their new home, John gets nervous about starting a family. Close friend and womanizer Sebastian (Eric Dane) advises him to get a dog first. John takes the advice and surprises Jennifer with Marley, an adorable Labrador puppy named after Bob Marley. The pup is trouble from the start: he makes a mess of the house, never listens, and is generally out of control. In an attempt to get Marley to behave, the Grogan’s enroll him in obedience school but after he is quickly kicked out they must figure it out on their own. Kathleen Turner makes a brief appearance here as the trainer and I wish it would have been a larger role because she is terrific.
One day John’s boss Arnie (Alan Arkin) offers him a twice-a-week column until he can find a replacement. John is stumped on what to write about and uses his life with Marley as his first subject. Arnie loves it because of its personal touch. John continues along those lines and he gets the column permanently. Now settled in his job and comfortable with life with Jennifer and Marley, John decides it is time to go ahead and start the family. The rest of the movie takes us through the ups of downs of the Grogan family.
The video is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and appears free of any digital issues or manipulation. It has a great picture, especially for a movie that you wouldn’t think would place a high priority on cinematography, but then the cinematographer is Florian Ballhaus, who is following in the footsteps of his talented father Michael Ballhaus. The color scheme uses a lot of bright colors, which is natural to Florida. The fleshtones stay true and consistent throughout.
The audio is presented in DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio does a great job recreating the source, although admittedly there wasn’t a lot for it to do in this drama. The dialogue is clear as it comes out the fronts and while the surround fills in occasional ambiance. For the most part, the subwoofer gets the night off, which eliminates a potential pun.
There are several extras included in the Blu-ray DVD set but calling it a 3-disc set is very deceiving. One disc is a digital copy and one disc is a bonus DVD copy. “Finding Marley” showcases the work of the trainers involved in the making of the movie. “Breaking the Golden Rule” is a featurette that includes interviews with the cast and crew. “On Set with Marley: Dog of all Trades” provides Marley’s the opportunity to talk about the making of the movie. “When Not to Pee” is about one particular scene. “Dog Training Trivia Track” includes tips on dog training that can pop-up during the movie or that can be watched individually through the special features. There are also deleted scenes with director commentary, a gag reel and an informational piece on animal adoption.
Marley & Me is completely forgettable. There is nothing special or original about it; it is exactly what you would expect. The actors fill their roles competently no more no less. If you are looking for a nice family movie with some touching moments, this is for you but I would suggest you rent it, watch it on cable, or buy just the movie. The extras are not worth the cost of the set.