Marley & Me (film)

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Marley & Me
MarleyPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Frankel
Produced by
  • Karen Rosenfelt
  • Gil Netter
Screenplay by
Based on Marley & Me 
by John Grogan
Starring
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Florian Ballhaus
Edited by Mark Livolsi
Production
  company
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • December 25, 2008 (2008-12-25)
Running time 121 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office
  • $243,665,113[1]
  • $70,573,821(US DVD sales)[2]

Marley & Me is a 2008 American comedy-drama film about the titular dog, Marley. It was directed by David Frankel and the screenplay by Scott Frank and Don Roos is based on the memoir of the same name by John Grogan. The film was released in the United States and Canada on December 25, 2008, and set a record for the largest Christmas Day box office ever with $14.75 million in ticket sales.[3]

Plot

Soon after their wedding, John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) escape the brutal Michigan winters and relocate to a cottage in South Florida, where they are hired as reporters for competing newspapers. At The Palm Beach Post, Jenny immediately receives prominent front-page assignments, while at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, John finds himself writing obituaries and two-paragraph articles about mundane news like a fire at the local garbage dump.

When John senses Jenny is contemplating motherhood, his friend and co-worker Sebastian Tunney (Eric Dane) suggests the couple adopt a dog to see if they're ready to raise a family. From a litter of newborn yellow Labrador retrievers they select Marley (named after reggae singer Bob Marley), who immediately proves to be incorrigible. They take him to Ms. Kornblut (Kathleen Turner), who firmly believes any dog can be trained, but when Marley refuses to obey commands, she expels him from her class.

Editor Arnie Klein (Alan Arkin) offers John a twice-weekly column in which he can discuss the fun and foibles of everyday living. At first stumped for material, John realizes the misadventures of Marley might be the perfect topic for his first piece. Arnie agrees, and John settles into his new position. Marley continues to wreak havoc on the household, providing John with a wealth of material for his column, which becomes a hit with readers and helps increase the newspaper's circulation. Jenny becomes pregnant, but loses the baby early in her first trimester. She and John travel to Ireland for a belated honeymoon, leaving the rambunctious dog in the care of a young woman who finds him impossible to control, especially during the frequent thunderstorms that plague the area. Soon after returning from their vacation, Jenny discovers she is pregnant again, and this time she delivers a healthy boy, Patrick. When she has a second son, Connor, she opts to give up her job and become a stay-at-home mom, prompting John to take on a daily column for a pay increase. Due to the crime rate, the couple decides to move to a larger house in the safer neighborhood of Boca Raton, where Marley delights in swimming in the backyard pool.

Although she denies she is experiencing postpartum depression, Jenny exhibits all the symptoms, including a growing impatience with Marley and John, who asks Sebastian to care for the dog when Jenny insists they give him away. She quickly comes to realize he has become an indispensable part of the family and agrees he can stay. Sebastian accepts a job for The New York Times and moves away.

John celebrates his 40th birthday. Increasingly disenchanted with his job, he decides to accept a position as a reporter with The Philadelphia Inquirer with Jenny's blessing, and the family moves to a farm in rural Pennsylvania. John soon realizes that he is a better columnist than reporter and pitches the column idea to his editor. Life is idyllic until the aging Marley begins to show signs of arthritis and deafness. An attack of gastric dilatation volvulus almost kills him, but he recovers. When a second attack occurs, it becomes clear surgery will not help him, and Marley is euthanized with John at his side. The family pay their last respects to their beloved pet as they bury him beneath a tree in their front yard.

Cast

Production

Because the film covers 14 years in the life of the dog, 22 different yellow labradors played the part of Marley (as revealed in the special feature Finding Marley on the DVD).

The film was shot on location in Florida's West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami and Dolphin Stadium, in addition to Philadelphia and West Chester in Pennsylvania. The Irish honeymoon scenes were shot in and around Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

The film's score was composed by Theodore Shapiro, who previously had worked with director Frankel on The Devil Wears Prada. He recorded it with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[4]

Dave Barry, Grogan's fellow South Florida humor columnist, makes an uncredited cameo as a guest at the surprise party celebrating Grogan's 40th birthday.[5]

Release

Critical reception

Marley & Me received mostly positive reviews. The film maintains a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 137 critics [6] and a 53% positive rating on Metacritic.[7]

Todd McCarthy of Variety said the film is "as broad and obvious as it could be, but delivers on its own terms thanks to sparky chemistry between its sunny blond stars, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, and the unabashed emotion-milking of the final reel. Fox has a winner here, likely to be irresistible to almost everyone but cats ... Animated and emotionally accessible, Aniston comes off better here than in most of her feature films, and Wilson spars well with her, even if, in the film's weaker moments, he shows he's on less certain ground with earnest material than he is with straight-faced impertinence."[8]

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter observed that "seldom does a studio release feature so little drama - and not much comedy either, other than when the dog clowns around . . . [W]hatever Marley wants to be about - the challenges of marriage or the balancing act between career and family - gets subsumed by pet tricks. Dog lovers won't care, and that basically is the audience for the film. From Fox's standpoint, it may be enough . . . Marley & Me is a warm and fuzzy family movie, but you do wish that at least once someone would upstage the dog."[9]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "a cheerful family movie" and added, "Wilson and Aniston demonstrate why they are gifted comic actors. They have a relationship that's not too sitcomish, not too sentimental, mostly smart and realistic",[10] whilst Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly graded the film A-, calling it "the single most endearing and authentic movie about the human–canine connection in decades. As directed by David Frankel, though, it's also something more: a disarmingly enjoyable, wholehearted comic vision of the happy messiness of family life."[11]

Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times was also very positive, graded the film B and commenting, "Marley & Me practically leaps at viewers like a pound puppy seeking affection, and darn if it doesn't deserve some . . . Things could get mushier or sillier, but Frankel and screenwriters Scott Frank and Don Roos — who usually handle grittier material — decline to play the easy, crowd-pleasing game. Their faith in Grogan's simple tale of loyalty among people and pets is unique, and it pays off . . . [It] isn't extraordinary cinema, but it relates to everyday people in the audience in a way that few movies do without being dull."[12]

Walter Addiego of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "this love letter to man's best friend will make dog fanciers roll over and do tricks. It's so warmhearted, you'll want to run out and hug the nearest big, sloppy mutt."[13] The praise continued with Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer awarding the film three out of four stars and saying, "Marley and Me operates on the assumption that happiness is a warm tongue bath. And those who endorse this belief will enjoy this shaggy dog story . . . The anecdotal structure does not make for a gripping movie. For one thing, there's no conflict, unless you count the tension between a guy and his untrainable pooch. Yet Marley boasts animal magnetism . . . Mawkish? Sometimes. But often very funny and occasionally very moving."[14]

The film also had bad reviews though, with Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times calling it "an imperfect, messy and sometimes trying film that has moments of genuine sweetness and humor sprinkled in between the saccharine and the sadness."[15]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was unimpressed, awarding the film one out of five stars and commenting, "the relentless gooey yuckiness and fatuous stereotyping in this weepy feelbad comedy gave me the film critic's equivalent of a boiling hot nose,"[16] while Philip French of The Observer said, "the one redeeming feature is the presence as Wilson's editor of that great deadpan, put-on artist Alan Arkin, a comedian who can do a double-take without moving his head."[17] Further criticism came from Colm Andrew of the Manx Independent who said that "Marley himself is surprisingly one-dimensional" and the ending was over-emotional, going "for the heart-wrenching kind which will always provoke a response, but does so with absolutely no grace".[18]

Marley & Me was placed #5 in a poll of "20 movies that make men cry".[19]

Box office

The film opened on 3,480 screens in the US and Canada on December 25, 2008. It grossed $14.75 million on its first day of release, setting the record for the best Christmas Day box office take ever by surpassing the previous high of $10.2 million achieved by Ali in 2001.[3] It earned a total of $51.7 million over the four-day weekend and placed #1 at the box office, a position it maintained for two weeks. As of August 13, 2009, it had grossed $143,153,751 in the US and $99,563,362 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $242,717,113.[1]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipients & Nominees Result
2009 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Film Music Award Theodore Shapiro Won
Kids' Choice Awards Blimp Award Jennifer Aniston Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Bromantic Comedy Won
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy Jennifer Aniston Nominated
Choice Movie Liplock Owen Wilson & Clyde Nominated

Home media

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 31, 2009. Viewers have the option of a single disc or a two-disc set called the Bad Dog Edition. The film is in anamorphic widescreen format with audio tracks in English, French, and Spanish and subtitles in English and Spanish. Bonus features on the two-disc set include Finding Marley, Breaking the Golden Rule, On Set with Marley: Dog of All Trades, Animal Adoption, When Not to Pee, How Many Takes, a gag reel, and the Purina Dog Chow Video Hall of Fame and Marley & Me video contest finalists. The DVD has sold a total of 3,514,154 copies generating $61.41 million in sales revenue.

A prequel to the film, Marley & Me: The Puppy Years, was released direct-to-video on June 1, 2011.

Soundtrack

Song Artist Written by
Shiny Happy People R.E.M. Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe
One Love Bob Marley & The Wailers Bob Marley
Decepcion Tech-i-L.A Danny Osuna and Sara Traina
Rockin' the Suburbs (Over the Hedge Version) Ben Folds Ben Folds
Only Wanna Be With You Hootie & the Blowfish Mark Bryan, Darius Rucker, Jim 'Soni' Sonefeld and Dean Felber
Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) Us3 featuring Rahsaan and Gerard Presencer Herbie Hancock, Rahsaan Hakeem Kelly, Melvyn Simpson and Geoffrey Wilkinson
Lithium Bruce Lash Kurt Cobain
Can We Fix It? Paul K. Joyce
Rather Be The Verve Richard Ashcroft
Lucky Man The Verve Richard Ashcroft
Happy Birthday Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
River Song Dennis Wilson Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson

Soundtrack references:[20][21][22]

References

  1. ^ a b "Marley & Me (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Marley & Me". The Numbers. 
  3. ^ a b "‘Marley & Me’ sets Christmas Day record". Today.com. Associated Press. 26 December 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (December 10, 2008). "Theodore Shapiro scores 'Marley & Me'". ScoringSessions.com. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ Grogan, John (21 April 2008). "Dave Barry Does Marley (or should I rephrase that?)". Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Marley & Me at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ Marley & Me at Metacritic
  8. ^ McCarthy, Todd (December 21, 2008). "Film Reviews: Marley & Me". Variety. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (December 21, 2008). "Film Review: Marley & Me". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 23, 2008). "Marley & Me :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 24, 2008). "Marley & Me Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  12. ^ Persall, Steve (December 25, 2008). "'Marley & Me' charms by avoiding the easy emotions". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Addiego, Walter (December 25, 2008). "Movie review: 'Marley & Me' a sweet tearjerker". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ Rickey, Carrie (December 23, 2008). "Animal magnetism in 'Marley & Me'". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ Sharkey, Betsy (December 25, 2008). "Slurpy, sweet and sad". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  16. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (March 13, 2009). "Film review: Marley & Me". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  17. ^ French, Philip (March 15, 2009). "Film review: Marley & Me". The Observer. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  18. ^ "FILM: Marley & Me". IOMToday.co.im. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  19. ^ McGuinness, Ross (August 3, 2010). "Lord Of The Rings tops poll of films that make men cry". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  20. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0822832/soundtrack
  21. ^ http://www.what-song.com/Movies/Soundtrack/176/Marley-and-Me
  22. ^ http://www.tvmoviesongs.com/movies/marley-me-soundtrack

External links