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Marley & Me

Original poster
Directed by David Frankel
Produced by Gil Netter
Karen Rosenfelt
Written by Scott Frank
Don Roos
Based on the novel by John Grogan
Starring Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Florian Ballhaus
Editing by Mark Livolsi
Studio Regency Enterprises
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 25, 2008
Running time 115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $242,717,113 [1]

Marley & Me is a 2008 American dramedy film directed by David Frankel. The screenplay by Scott Frank and Don Roos is based on the memoir of the same title 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.[2]



Soon after their wedding, John and Jenny Grogan escape the brutal Michigan winters and relocate to a cottage in southern 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 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 bring 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 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, and 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.

John and Jenny welcome a daughter, Colleen, to their family. 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.

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. 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 euthanised 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.


Because the film covers 14 years in the life of the dog, 22 different yellow labradors played the part of Marley.[3]

The film was shot on location in Florida's Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami and Dolphin Stadium, in addition to Philadelphia and West Chester in Pennsylvania.

The film's score was composed by Theodore Shapiro, who previously had worked with director David 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, John Grogan's fellow South Florida humor columnist, makes an uncredited cameo as a guest at the surprise party celebrating Grogan's 40th birthday.


Critical reception

Marley & Me maintains a 61% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes [5] and a 53% positive rating on Metacritic. [6]

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."[7]

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."[8]

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",[9] 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."[10]

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."[11]

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."[12] 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."[13]

The film had its critics 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."[14]

Peter Bradshaw of the 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,"[15] 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."[16] 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".[17]

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.[2] 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]

Awards and nominations

The film won the 2009 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Bromantic Comedy.

Home media release

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.[18]


External links


Simple English

Marley & Me
Directed by David Frankle
Produced by Gil Netter
Karen Rosenfelt
Written by Scott Frank
Don Roos
Novel: John Grogan
Starring Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane
Kathleen Turner
Alan Arkin
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Florian Ballhaus
Editing by Mark Livolsi
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (USA)
Release date(s) December 25, 2008
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $242,717,113
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Marley & Me is a 2008 drama-comedy movie that is produced by Gil Netter and Karen Rosenfeltand was directed by David Frankle. The movie opened in theaters on December 25, 2008 and set a record for the largest Christmas Day box office open ever with $14.75 million in ticket sales.



The movie is based on the novel and is about a couple, John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston) who just get married and move from Michigan to Florida. They get jobs at a local newspaper and Jenny wants a baby so their co-worker, Sebastian Tunney (Eric Dane) suggest they get a puppy before they have a baby to see if they will be good parents. They go shopping for puppies and come across a litter of newborn yellow labrador retrievers, They decide to chose Marley and Marley immediately becomes a handful so they take him to dog trainer Ms. Kornblut (Kathleen Turner) and when Marley doesn't listen to her commands she expels him from her dog class.

Editor Arnie Klein (Alan Arkin) offers John a twice-weekly column in which he can discuss things that are fun and not fun about everyday living. After having writer's block, John notices the misadventures of Marley and thought that it might be the perfect topic for his first piece. Arnie agrees, and John settles into his new position.

Marley continues to give John new material for his column by causing havoc on the house and readers loved it. Jenny becomes pregnant but the baby dies in her first trimester so they decide to take a belated honeymoon to Ireland and leave Marley with a dogsitter and becomes a handful for the dogsitter because of the thunderstorms that are around there. Upon returning from their honeymoon Jenny finds that she is pregnant again and gives birth to a boy, Patrick. Jenny also has a second child Connor and quits her job to become a stay-at-home mom and John take the daily column at work to increase their paycheck. With the crime rate near their home, John and Jenny move to a house in a safer neighbourhood in Boca Raton. Jenny is experiencing all the signs of postpartum depression though she denies it and grows impatient of Marley and John and thinks they should give Marley away while John asks Sebastian to take care of him but Jenny realizes that Marley has become a indispensable part of the family and decides that he can stay. Sebastian takes a job in New York for The New York Times and moves. A couple years later Jenny has a third child a daughter, Colleen. The family moves to Pennsylvania when John takes a job for the The Philadelphia Inquirer with Jenny's approval. Life is good until Marley begins to have arthritis and deafness and develops an attack of gastric dilatation volvulus though he survives it he has another attack and it was clear that surgery would not help the situation, John has Marley euthanised while beside him. The family bury Marley under a tree in their front yard after paying their last respects to him.


  • Owen Wilson as John Grogan
  • Jennifer Aniston as Jenny Grogan
  • Eric Dane as Sebastian Tunney
  • Alan Arkin as Arnie Klein
  • Haley Hudson as Debbie
  • Haley Bennett as Lisa
  • Kathleen Turner as Ms. Kornblut
  • Nathan Gamble as Patrick Grogan (age 10)
  • Bryce Robinson as Patrick Grogan (age 7)
  • Dylan Henry as Patrick Grogan (age 3)
  • Finley Jacobsen as Conor Grogan (age 8)
  • Ben Hyland as Conor Grogan (age 5)
  • Lucy Merriam as Colleen Grogan


Marley & Me got mostly positive reviews from reviewers:

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