Monday, 18 October 2010

Marley is no ordinary dog

Marley and Me
December 25, 2008

Directed by: 
David Frankel

Produced by:
Gil Netter
Karen Rosenfelt

Written by: 
Scott Frank
Don Roos
(based on the autobiography
 by John Grogan)

Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane
Kathleen Turner
Alan Arkin

Summary:  After Jennifer and John Grogan get married, they decide to move to Florida.  Worried about a baby being next on Jennifer’s ‘plan’, John attempts to stall this by buying her a puppy for her birthday. They choose to buy Marley – who is named while he and John are driving home listening to the reggae artist Bob Marley. However, Marley is no ordinary dog. When the Grogans are purchasing him, the owner says: “Boys are 275. Except for that little guy there. Him you could have for 200 even.” 

At this point it is obvious Marley is somehow different to most dogs. Marley is crazy, full of energy and lacks any self-discipline. His antics provide John with plenty of humorous stories for his column. Both Jennifer and John are writers, and while Jennifer decides to give up her work to look after her children, John searches for his perfect job. The Grogans soon have three children: Patrick, Connor and Colleen. This film follows the story of their family, John’s work and life with “the world’s worst dog.”
  My Favourite Scene:  One of the scenes I thought was the most interesting was when Jennifer fell pregnant. At nearly 10 weeks, she and John visited the hospital to have a scan. While the doctor is looking at the baby she leaves the room and returns with another doctor who, after checking, answers Jennifer’s question “Is there anything in there?” with “Not what you would expect to see at 10 weeks.”

I like this scene because I think in too many films that aim to reflect real life, couples easily have children. Jennifer suffers a miscarriage, which is a situation that many people will have experienced. The scenes that follow show the repercussions of the miscarriage. As they are driving home from the hospital, John says that they can try again in a few months, which is him trying to give her some form of comfort. However he later finds her stroking Marley in floods of tears. At this point he realised how much Jennifer was suffering. It was refreshing to see a real-life situation in this sort of film, which is why I chose it as my favourite scene.

My Favourite Quotes: 
John Grogan: A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.

Jennifer Grogan: Hi guys, alright, say hello to Colleen!
Connor: Daddy says her name is whoops.

My Thoughts: The aim of this film is to make the audience both laugh and cry which, in my case, it did very successfully. An animal dying never fails to make me sob and there were numerous scenes where Marley’s insane behaviour had me in fits of laughter. I enjoyed both Wilson’s and Aniston’s performances, although I think Aniston has unfortunately reached the age where she cannot quite pull off being a 20-something newlywed!

The problem with this film is that everything was far too predicable. Once Jennifer suffered a miscarriage, it was only a matter of time before she became pregnant again. It was obvious once they agreed to have no more children, that another baby would soon come along and it was clear that John would end up becoming a columnist (despite him believing that he should be a reporter). There were no surprises, which I think is what makes a film interesting. To my disappointment, “Marley and Me” never made me think “wow. I did not expect that.”

Something I found particularly strange was John’s relationship with his children. He had a full time job which, of course, would take up a lot of his time - but it seemed throughout the film John never bonded with his children. There were plenty of scenes with Jennifer holding her children, but next to none of John. 

An element of his film which is quite worrying is how Marley ran wild around the house with three small children. It seemed very irresponsible, although Jennifer did mention once about Connor not sleeping and Patrick falling over due to Marley. I think that the safety issue of raising children with a dog like Marley was a subject that was not properly dealt with.

“Marley and Me” seemed to drag on. Every time I thought the film was coming to an end, it carried on! I thought that the scene where the Gorgans buried Marley was probably necessary for the film to come to a close, but it was still too clichéd. The film was supposed to portray real-life, but it was completely unrealistic - particularly John’s ability to convince his bosses to give him any sort of job he wanted! Overall, I found “Marley and Me” to be another predicable comedy, but it is still an enjoyable family film.

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