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YOUR MOVIES: HOOT UNDER THE COLLAR; FILM of the week Canine caper is a purebred doggy delight.

Byline: by MARK ADAMS


Cert PG, 116mins Opens Wednesday, March 11


Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, Alan Arkin, Kathleen Turner.


Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Wilson and Aniston) start new lives in Florida as journalists on rival papers.

They decide to get a dog... cue the arrival of an oh-so-cute labrador they name Marley. He grows into an uncontrollable 100- pound bundle of energy who fails obedience school and is branded the "world's worst dog". The arrival of children puts more strain on their relationship, but they continue to grow as a family.


Part comedy and part old-fashioned tearjerker Marley & Me is a solid-gold tribute to man's best friend... it is warm-hearted feelgood fun that brims with family values. This mutt movie has "box office smash" written all over it.

The real-life John Grogan wrote a series of columns about his family and their boisterous labrador, eventually turning them into a bestselling book called Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog and several sequels. For the big-screen adaptation, Grogan gets the movie star treatment and is ably played by Owen Wilson, who actually reins in his usual on-screen excesses and does a good job in playing an ordinary guy.

Meanwhile his wife Jenny gets the Jennifer Aniston treatment. That means she is tanned, toned and oh-so cute. This means that not only is their pooch cute-as-a button, but that the Grogans themselves are also the most perfect looking young couple in South Florida.

John Grogan's decision to get a puppy is essentially an attempt to keep his wife's interest in babies at bay.

But soon they find the bundle of puppy energy taking over their lives - a cute mutt with an enthusiasm for misbehaving and a love of eating anything to hand.

Marley just can't be taught - even when he is taken to intensive dogwrangling classes run by Mrs Kornblutt (Turner) he won't do as he is told.

Much of the first part of the film is pure comedy excess as Marley gets himself into scrape after scrape (I particularly loved a scene of him sliding across a polished floor, straight out of the garden door and into a swimming pool), although the fun packed antics slow gradually as the story draws on, the Grogans start to have children and things get a bit tense around the house.

Those who have read the book will know to get their hankies ready for the film's tear-jerking climax.

In essence Marley & Me is a warm-hearted family drama with a goodly amount of hound humour to keep things rolling.

Trivia fans may be interested to know that 22 dogs played Marley through the 13 years of his screen life... and though he gets older and more tired, Owen and Jennifer barely seem to age. Odd that...


THIS canine comedy is wonderful, tearjerking entertainment.


Litter pick... the Grogans (Aniston & Wilson) choose their dog, Marley; Smile... Jenny's new movie is a warm-hearted family story
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Movie review
Date:Mar 8, 2009
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