Marley & Me (DVD)

A dog’s life…

Based on the best-selling memoir by journalist John Grogan, Marley & Me tells the endearing story of his life as a husband, father and owner of bombastic labrador Marley who is a serious contender for the most badly behaved dog in the world. And, of course, it’s his canine adventures that steal the show, although Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are hugely likeable as Marley’s long-suffering owners John and Jennifer.

As the couple marry, start a family and suffer heartache, joy and drama as they shape their future together, Marley is by their side. Growing from cute puppy to uncontrollable beast, its Marley who rules the roost and becomes an essential part of the Grogan’s life together.

There are many funny moments – mostly to do with Marley eating household appliances and acting like a domestic wrecking ball – but there is also a surprising level of pathos; neither Wilson or Aniston shy away from emoting with their canine co-star, and there are some genuinely tender scenes. It may sound cheesy, but the heartfelt, funny performances, not to mention Alan Arkin’s turn as John’s ascerbic newspaper editor, lends the film exactly the right tone.

With its themes of family values and unconditional love, Marley & Me could so easily have dissolved into Movie of the Week-esque melolodrama. Thanks to its two central performances from Wilson and Aniston, who both showcase a level of comedy timing and self-depricating humour that make their characters as charming as their adorable canine co-star, it proves to be a fun, easy and totally unpretentious watch that has more bark than you might think. 4 stars

Extra Features
It’s the character of Marley that has the lion’s share of the bonus material, with featurettes looking at training the 20-plus dogs involved, working with animals, adopting animals and the like. There’s also deleted scenes and gag reel, while the Blu-ray has an extra Dog Training Trivia Track and Dog Training 101 feature. It would have been nice to hear more from Wilson and Aniston. 3 stars

Watch Marley and Me Clips and Featurette

Stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Alan Arkin
Director David Frankel
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released July 6