Marley & Me

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, and Alan Arkin. Comedy/drama. Written by Scott Frank and Don Roos. Directed by David Frankel.

FILM SYNOPSIS: This romantic comedy/drama, based on the true-life adventures of columnist John Grogan, centers around an unruly yellow Labrador who manages to dominate a newlywed coupleís lifestyle. As the couple maneuvers through the bliss and blisters of married life, their new pup eats the garage drywall and wants to wed the couch, the dog sitter, the mailman, etc.

PREVIEW ON LINE: Marley & Me is the best canine caper since My Dog Skip. But itís far more than a dog-and-his-human movie. Itís a film about love, responsibility, a pro-marriage, pro-life film that moves from comedy to drama with the ease of giving Lassie a command.

Devoid of exploitation and rough language, the film aims at most of the family. A warning must go out, however. Donít be misled by the cutesy puppy on the promotional poster. This being a story surrounding the life of a dogís family, keep in mind our four-legged friends seldom outlive us mere mortals. Whatís more, the scenario surrounds a married couple, with its highs and lows. That means we will share their arguments and the tragedy they must endure.

Though handled with discretion, the true story does contain a traumatic scene concerning a miscarriage. Asked if these ingredients (arguments between parents and the loss of an unborn) were appropriate for children, the filmmakers defended the scenes because they were in the book. The director added that if the little ones asked questions about the loss of a child, it should be discussed. Youíll have to decide if your child would be alarmed by such subjects, and if such themes are suitable in a movie promoted as a cuddly comedy about a wayward pooch.

That said, these dramatic moments shouldnít dissuade older family members from attending. Itís a smart movie about people finding their way. Fast paced, with mostly gentle humor, the film celebrates the preciousness of life, while giving a realistic view of a modern marriage. And the film contains one of the funniest scenes in recent memory: Marley (named after singer Bob Marley) becomes suspicious of his forced trip to the vet and tries to get out of the car. I canít remember laughing so hard.

Oh, there is one other small obstacle for those with kids. You must expect the question to be asked, ďDaddy, can we get a doggy?Ē This will begin a tug of war and Iím afraid youíll lose. Well, be grateful. At least they wonít be asking for a cat. (Just kidding, cat people.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One or two subdued sexual innuendos; a young dog, if I may use the word, humps everything in sight, from the legs of furniture to those of the dogsitter.

Obscene Language: Two obscenities (SOB)

Profanity: I caught no misuse of Godís name other than Ms. Anistonís two uses of the expression ďOh my God,Ē an expression she used quite often on Friends.

Violence: No violence, but a woman loses an unborn child; the following scenes are difficult to view as we feel her pain. But it is a reality the couple must endure and from this experience they grow closer, realizing the wonder of life.

Sex: A sexual scene between the married couple, mostly played off screen, with sound effects; the couple are in bed, the mood ruined by the dog watching.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Johnís co-worker is portrayed as a womanizer; he is seen with several ladies and it is implied that he has brief relations with each of them. But his character is seen as the opposite of the lead, who, despite some marital combats, is dedicated to his wife.

Drugs: Some wine with meals

Other: When the dog dies, there are extended scenes dealing with the familyís loss. It is touching, if a bit overdone; bring hankies.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Ten Years to Adult

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