A cute labrador puppy stares right into the eyes of Jennifer Aniston, and the theater audience goes “Awwww…”. Literally.
Cut to a spaniel-haired Owen Wilson driving home with the three month old puppy who apparently gets excited on hearing Bob Marley, which prompts spaniel-hair to name the dog Marley. More “Awwwwwws…”.
Marley grows up fast, eats a lot, poops mango remnants and swallowed gold chains and soon garners the title of the “Worst dog in the world” after humping the leg of a hapless dog-trainer in public. The audience is thoroughly enjoying themselves thus far, and wondering “Now what”? Will the dog save the day by foiling a robbery? Will this dog turn over a new leaf and win the dog show with amazing acrobatics? Will the dog do anything but eat and poop and destroy furniture?
The poor audience never gets to know…because Marley is nothing but an ordinary dog. After the initial “awwww” scenes, “Marley & Me” moves into thoroughly maudlin territory, subjecting the unsuspecting audience with the intimate details of the pointless lives of John & Jennifer Grogan, a journo-couple who drift through multiple jobs and children. There is nothing special about them. My life is more interesting than theirs…like my last dog was more interesting than Marley.
And for a movie which is over 2hrs long (atleast it felt over 2 hrs long) this is not much of a proposition. By the end of the movie, when the Grogans have moved into a prosperous life in Philadelphia, Marley is old and dying, one can’t help wishing for it all to end quickly for the dog – so that we can all move ahead with our lives. But alas, it drags on & on with the normally funny Owen Wilson trying to whip up audience sympathy by putting on a sad-puppy-face and engaging in deep conversations with Marley who looks as bored & sleepy as the audience.
The one line synopsis of the movie at IMDB says. “A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.” Sure they learned lessons, like all families do as they go through trials and tribulations together. But for the life of me, I cannot put my paw on what these lessons had to do with the dog…
Watch it only if you have nothing better to do.