Film Reviews

MARLEY & ME

By • Dec 24th, 2008 •

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A dog rules a bland couple. Makes me glad I didn’t read the book. Cured my puppy lust.

I’ve never had a dog. I grew up in cat household. Watching The Dog Whisperer I have become obsessive about having a dog, but I travel too much. Regardless, I have named my imaginary puppy Remi. Here are the rules I learned from Cesar Milan: Dogs need discipline, exercise, and then, some affection. You must be the pack leader.

According to MARLEY & ME, Marley is the pack leader. Not only does Marley do whatever he wants, he doesn’t seem to care a whit about John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston). I didn’t see any affection or territorial love from Marley. He wasn’t even John’s best friend.

What happened to Aniston’s face? Those cheek implants are so fresh, I saw her surgeon in the background in every scene.

John and Jenny marry and start their journalism careers. Jenny is a far more successful writer than John, who wants to be a war correspondent instead of a cub city desk reporter. He’s got to put up with comparing himself not only to talented Jenny but his sexy, happily single, womanizer journalism college pal, Sebastian (Eric Dane). They move from Michigan to West Palm Beach, Florida on Sebastian’s recommendation. When Jenny mentions having a baby, Sebastian suggests John get her a dog.

They pick out a discounted Labrador puppy, Marley. John is not a pack leader. In fact, he rightly feels he is a failure compared to Jenny and Sebastian. Even Marley disrespects him.

Frankly, and I know I will hear from all of you dog lovers, but Marley isn’t even loveable or loyal. Would you allow a dog to destroy all of your stuff and furniture? Well, when it’s just movie sets, who cares?

Marley is their substitute autistic child. When Jenny has a baby, she has to give up her promising career to take care of the baby and destructive Marley. Marley has issues that not even a dog trainer (Kathleen Turner) can abide.

(Isn’t it sad when an actress who has had Turner’s career needs to take this one scene role to pay some bills? Note to successful, young actresses: Save some money now!)

Since watching Marley destroy everything John and Jenny have brought could turn future dog lovers into cat lovers, the couple start having problems over John’s stalled writing career, the crying babies, and then the dog. Marley is the Crown Prince of the Grogans. He comes before the children in their affection.

Does Marley wake up the family when the house catches fire? Is he the family’s watchdog? No, he is the destroyer of everything the Grogans paid for.

The movie spans 15 years. As the Grogan’s three children grow up, they move to a palatial farm (with horses and servant’s quarters) and Marley gets old. John and Jenny stay young, though John ditches his face covering bangs once he hits forty.

I can’t believe this was a best-selling book by John Grogan. I’m now going to write a memoir about me and my imaginary Fox Paulistinha dog, Remi Aquiar Alexander.

A dear friend of mine in Brazil breeds Fox Paulistinhas as a hobby. At my friend’s weekend retreat in Itaipava, I bonded with an adorable, obedient, blue-eyed Fox Paulistinha puppy. My friend’s passion is raising rare animals, having recently brought a new species of pony to Brazil. His newest additions are a baby lama and two emus. My friend and his wife also own part of the rain forest adjoining their property. They have an array of rare birds, including a very rare Arara azul de Lear. Around only 450 still live in the wild and some in captivity. A Brazilian government official comes every six months to check on the bird’s care. Trust me, these animals have a full-time staff catering to their every whim. As soon as my husband says “yes”, Remi’s paperwork will be submitted and he will be mine.

Not only do Wilson and Aniston have no chemistry with each other, they have no chemistry with Marley or their movie children. Yes, they kiss a lot, but that’s not movie chemistry; that’s taking direction. The director, David Frankel, does not give Aniston the right camera angles or lighting, and in many scenes she appears to be hiding behind her hair. I couldn’t stop looking at Wilson’s blond bangs draped over his face as a visual clue to his boyish lack of pack leader power.

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