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Movie Review: Marley & Me

Alternate Title: Let this Sleeping Dog (Movie) Lie

Story: This is one of those annoying movies that has been marketed one way but when you go to see the film, it is something else instead. And it pissed me off. I say 'bait and switch' is what those guys at 20th Century Fox did. I thought I was going to see an adaptation of the book Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, by John Grogan, but instead got a typical Lifetime movie about two overly attractive people with nothing to complain about - and yet they do (for over two hours). It was directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) and written by Scott Frank and Don Roos.

Doggone it, what remains of the book, which is really about Marley the dog, are snippets of Marley (using 22 dogs) growing from puppy hood to old age chewing his way through everything in sight. Marley, while loved, is nothing more than another piece of furniture in this self-indulgent couple's lives. Forget about the obvious plot holes like the Grogans never age, never gain weight, are always tan (even when they lived in Michigan) just occasionally get annoyed at one another and then make up and produce another child.

So what was good about the film? I love dogs and can watch them all of the time. So dog lovers will have something to smile about every now and then. Pretty people are nice to watch, but after awhile, I prefer to look at the dogs. Does it have appeal and will it make money? Absolutely it will. I just do not like being snookered.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9qLrcUdftA

Here's the real John Grogan talking about Marley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_fZSjOTwOI

Acting: Owen Wilson as John Grogan looked like he was medicated for most of the film. His inflection does not waver. But he has great hair. Jennifer Aniston as Jenny Grogan, always looks good and she has great hair too. Eric Dane as non believable friend Sebastian Tunney also had nice hair.Alan Arkin as editor Arnie Klein does not need nice hair because he can act and Kathleen Turner the cameo dog trainer just looked frightening.

Trivia: John Grogan has been a reporter, bureau chief, and columnist for newspapers in Michigan and Florida before becoming the editor in chief of Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine. He was a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives with his wife Jenny and their three children in rural eastern Pennsylvania. Grogan's dog Marley appeared in the movie The Last Home Run when he was on film for less than 2 minutes when a van pulls up to a curb and a girl steps out and a boy steps out with Marley. Dog trainer, Larry Madrid, said it took 22 Labs of various sizes and temperaments to film Marley & Me, which was shot in Miami and South Florida last winter. Madrid, who handled hawks for 3:10 to Yuma, crows for Charlotte's Web and everything but roaches in Enchanted, said he had it pretty easy for this shoot.

Predilection: I was not going to see this film, but was persuaded to see it by a friend (we are still friends).

Critters: Oodles of poodles, loads of dogs, dogs, and more dogs.

Sex Spectrum: Lots of sex, but no spark.

Blatant Product Placement: Dos Equus

Visual Art: Pretty people living in pretty houses with pretty things.

Theater Audience: The friend who cajoled me into seeing this film was visiting from California. She was pissed when the theater where Marley was playing had a screen that she said was smaller than her TV in her living room. She never got over that annoyance and was angry and hated the film for many reasons through to the end. The theater was packed, and filled with every kind of person from big burly guys, couples, groups of friends but no kids. This was a 4PM showing on a Friday afternoon. This is not a movie for kids, by the way.

Weather: The weather in Florida was perfectly sunny unless there were thunderstorms to scare Marley.

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch a lot.

Predictability Level: I reads the book - no surprises.

Tissue Usage: We sobbed at the Marley death scene. It went on way too long and seemed to have not been edited so that Owen Wilson could have a big dramatic scene. Dog poop, I say.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. Why not read the book?

Length: This film was over two hours. In dog years that is way too long.