Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane
Kathleen Turner
Alan Arkin.
Directors
David Frankel.
Screenwriters
Scott Frank
Don Roos.
Running Time
116 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Into The Storm
2 Star Empire Rating
Guvnors, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Police Officer's Wife, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Charulata
4 Star Empire Rating
Art Party
1 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Marley & Me
It's Revolutionary Road meets Beethoven


submit to reddit


Plot
Newlywed journalists John and Jenny Grogan (Wilson and Aniston) plan to have babies. To delay that day, John gives Jenny a puppy instead. Incorrigible Marley is the world’s worst dog, but his untamable spirit uplifts the Grogans at difficult moments.


Review
Marley & Me
You might stray into this picture assuming it’s a comedy because of the Owen Wilson/Jennifer Aniston pairing — particularly as their co-star is a large, awkward pooch. Then you could spend at least an hour wondering when it’s going to get funny.

It is only then the horrible realisation may dawn that this is supposed to be a heartwarming drama in which the dog teaches his people life wisdom. Because he is a destructive, free-spirited bad doggy, he demonstrates the virtues of living in the moment and a bounding, unquenchable joie de vivre his humans need to embrace.

In real life John Grogan is an American newspaper columnist whose late, lamented Labrador (named after Bob, who was singing on the car radio the day John brought the puppy home, aww) inspired his most popular musings. A collection of these became a bestseller. What it amounts to on screen is mostly the two-legged stars, and 22 dogs who played Marley between puppyhood and old age, spending two hours vying to out-cute each other. Wilson wins Best In Show, since his monologues to the four-legged blonds have more charm and chemistry than his dialogues with Aniston, unconvincing as a journalist, a frustrated housewife, a mother of three or the tolerant handmaiden of a slavering beast who chews up her stuff (although not, surprisingly, her children).

The naughty dog is the most believable thing. Given the credibility of the screenwriters, they and/or director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) seem oddly uninterested in Grogan’s reportorial life, beyond unlikely exchanges with his crusty-comedic editor (Alan Arkin), who has to persuade him to become a columnist and double his salary. Or in his best friend-confidant (Eric Dane), merely the obligatory swinging-bachelor foreign correspondent whose glamorous, successful life is hollow because he didn’t wed, get a dog and reproduce. A lot of the commotion between Wilson and Aniston is about the dreams they had to let go through the ups and tearful/screeching downs of a marriage and having a family. Gee, do you think they’ll conclude it was all worth it? Marley’s the poor sod who has his balls cut off, so what have they got to bellyache about?


Verdict
My Dog Skip for people in mid-life crises, it’s too talky and trouble-laden for tykes but will doubtless prove as critic-proof to dog-lovers and the stars’ fans as it did in the US.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Marley & Me
Empire Star Rating

Classic

Had me weeping but its such a charmer and i reckon could be a cult classic brilliant performances and works in its serious and its funny moments. Make no mistake however this is not a lighthearted feel good comedy but its a brilliant story that will captivate your heart. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bigollytg at 22:16, 10 July 2011 | Report This Post


Isle of Dogs

If you love dogs you might like this, people were weeping at the end when I saw it. I felt the same, but for different reasons. It felt like watching someones entire life, with every little dull detail left in, all in real time... and longer!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Y0gi at 13:43, 29 July 2009 | Report This Post


2 Stars?!?!?

Brilliant film for dog lovers and suitable for most ages, but bear in mind that it isn't a pure comedy and that tears will be shed before the end. I suppose it is a matter of opinion but I think this Empire review is a bit harsh, it is really up to what type of film you like. Obviously this reviewer is more of a cat person and prefers laugh-a-second films! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IronPie at 22:15, 10 July 2009 | Report This Post


Nice dog

god Jennifer Anistone but nothing more. Probably this is good movie for children ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shady_88 at 12:21, 19 April 2009 | Report This Post


Marley & Me - not so funny

This is an enjoyable family film about a young couple who adopt a rather mischievous dog named Marley. It’s not all laughs at the badly behaved dog though, as there are some more serious moments in the film and a rather sad ending – that was handled delicately and not too soppy. Kathleen Turner puts in a hilarious, but minor stint as a dog trainer and the two leads guide us along nicely. They make a believable couple, in this somewhat predictable venture. The star of the film, though... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nwebber at 12:12, 10 April 2009 | Report This Post


Not bad but not good either

It struck me as one of these films that you come out of snivilling, Then go out to dinner and forget all about it. Leads were ok, Story was ok, kids were ok, dog was annoying, REALLY ANNOYING, but the film wasn't about him anyway, a contradiction, but they marketed the film that way, and it's a cheat. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 23:55, 03 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: nausiating

I enjoyed it. Sure it was advertised wrongly, but in the end the thing that matters is the final product, and in this case it was rather good. It was well acted, funny in places (although I must add nothing laugh out loud but a few giggles here and there), and the last 20 minutes was really quite sad.   Good film. Awful review (I mean seriously, has no one ever told you that you DON'T start a sentance with "Because....".     ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by themightyhutch at 12:00, 30 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: nausiating

it was by no means awful, but was certainly uneven in tone, and about 20mins too long I'd say.  I'd also say that it might not be that suitable for more sensitive kids, as the ending is quite upsetting, and i cant see them being that interested in the problems between Aniston and Wilson. ... More

Posted by mustbebunnies at 15:21, 29 March 2009 | Report This Post


nausiating

It was a nausiating film - I couldnt wait for it to end. I suppose its my fault for going to see a film with Jennifer Aniston in it, about a dog that chews things up. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by uk40uk at 07:52, 24 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

I enjoyed it too. ... More

Posted by Timmy_Brisby_05 at 14:28, 23 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

Trailers et al seemed to suggest a "heartwarming" family comedy but the last third was very far from that. Wouldn't recommend this for kids but I enjoyed it a lot. Two stars is ludicrously harsh. If you have or ever had a dog then I cannot see you not enjoying this - not hard to see why it's made gobs of cash in the US mostly based on positive word of mouth I bet.   ... More

Posted by Schadenfreude at 18:33, 22 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Top Dog

I'd read the book so knew exactly what to expect from this film, which, and in my opinion somewhat misleadingly, has seemingly been advertised as a family comedy. Marley And Me is not that, and isn't necessarily for kids either. The book works best when read in small doses, when put together in a movie form, there's the feeling that it doesn't all gel as it should, there's a kind of repetitiveness to it all, dog scene, human scene, dog scene, human scene. Herein lies the problem for m... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 09:01, 21 March 2009 | Report This Post


Top Dog

Marley and me was truly heart warming. The chemistry between Aniston and Wilson was believeable as they face the trials and tribulations of family life. The introduction of Marley as a puppy and watching him grow alongside his owners, its hard not to feel emotionally attached to Marley and by the end of the film it is hard to keep a dry eye. Wilson is surprising as his portrayal of Grogan is emotion filled and relatable. This is a surprising touching film that will pull at your heart strings thr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DAMO 89 at 20:28, 19 March 2009 | Report This Post


Top Dog

Marley and me was truly heart warming. The chemistry between Aniston and Wilson was believeable as they face the trials and tribulations of family life. The introduction of Marley as a puppy and watching him grow alongside his owners, its hard not to feel emotionally attached to Marley and by the end of the film it is hard to keep a dry eye. Wilson is surprising as his portrayal of Grogan is emotion filled and relatable. This is a surprising touching film that will pull at your heart strings thr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DAMO 89 at 20:01, 19 March 2009 | Report This Post


Top Dog

Marley and me was truly heart warming. The chemistry between Aniston and Wilson was believeable as they face the trials and tribulations of family life. The introduction of Marley as a puppy and watching him grow alongside his owners, its hard not to feel emotionally attached to Marley and by the end of the film it is hard to keep a dry eye. Wilson is surprising as his portrayal of Grogan is emotion filled and relatable. This is a surprising touching film that will pull at your heart strings thr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DAMO 89 at 20:01, 19 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

Not seen it but the kids have both read the book and /i]the film. I've only heard good things about it to be honest, the 2 star review is a mile away from the feedback I've been given.  ... More

Posted by jonson at 09:40, 19 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

L: parsonage84 L: PerfectlyFlawed I thought this film was total and utter rubbish. It didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. How on earth it even got as much as 2 stars is beyond me. watch out near the end when they so obviously used a different dog.ote] s, the film shows the dog from puppy to old age its never the same dog throughout the film, its not like they spent 12 years filming the same dog Overall i enjoyed it, must admit i went in there not real... More

Posted by PerfectlyFlawed at 12:20, 18 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

L: PerfectlyFlawed I thought this film was total and utter rubbish. It didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. How on earth it even got as much as 2 stars is beyond me. watch out near the end when they so obviously used a different dog.ote]   Well yes, the film shows the dog from puppy to old age its never the same dog throughout the film, its not like they spent 12 years filming the same dogp; Overall i enjoyed it, must admit i went in there not really ex... More

Posted by parsonage84 at 05:44, 18 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

Wow, ignore the harsh criticism Angie, I've no idea where it comes from and it sounds idiotic.  This is the kind of critic-proof crap that will result in people claiming you "didn't get it" orare "movie snob" simply because you call the film out on the painful "heartwarming" "life lesson" cliched drivel that it is. I think Mark Kermode said it best.  This is sentimentality porn.  For those of you that liked it, fine go ahead.  But don't try and argue that it's somet... More

Posted by Lex Romero at 01:39, 17 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

Yes this film is often portrayed as being a comedy film but the adverts and trailers do sell the fact that it is based around Josh Grogan and his life with the worlds worst dog, and in all honesty though the humour isn't laugh out loud stuff there are still comedy moments especially with Marley. I loved the fact that when i was watching the film i could totally relate to situations with Josh (owen wilson) regarding Marley as i am a pet owner and dog lover myself. But I felt that we didn'... More

Posted by Sugar Kowalczyk at 00:57, 17 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

I had a chance to watch this film but was ill so missed it but my friends went and they loved it! Proper girly film they saw made them laugh and cry the whole way through so it does make me wanna watch it but ive seen alot of bad reviews! ... More

Posted by moviecraze99 at 14:04, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Marley & Me

I thought this film was total and utter rubbish. It didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama.   How on earth it even got as much as 2 stars is beyond me.   Oh and watch out near the end when they so obviously used a different dog. ... More

Posted by PerfectlyFlawed at 19:31, 13 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Angie you dog

to cool for school? this movie was designed to please people just like you. i haven't seen it and wont bother to, based on your reply. and your supposed to say "too" cool for school, you left out that second "O" there in the word "too", it always annoys me when people do that, it looks like youre trying to say "lets go to cool for school." i mean how the hell do you go "to cool" unless you mean like "coolsville" which isn't even a place. i bet you're a fat person. ... More

Posted by rudymanchero at 18:22, 13 March 2009 | Report This Post


Angie you dog

Now Angie Im a big hairy man who no doubt loves dogs and really appreciates their unconditional love and spirit. The fact that you missed the whole point of the movie with your undoubted movie snobbery coming to the fore is quiet evident for all to see. That being bad enough is nearly forgivable, but your obvious distain for the leads and their performance is not acceptable its down right lazy journalism. Your obviously to cool for school Angie "they and/or director David Frankel (The Devil... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ossie90 at 09:18, 13 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: WHAT!!

I really enjoyed it - beautifully acted and sweet and had me sobbing at the end.  Was a slightly different take on a rom com which i enjoyed showing the harsher realities of looking after young children, and the relationship we have with our pets which is not that often explored.   Aniston has that weird Meg Ryan overly full face and pout look going on tho which is quite distracting - so much for her not believing in surgery!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by captain jack harknes at 22:51, 12 March 2009 | Report This Post


More user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Classic Feature: Empire Meets Uwe Boll
'I'm probably the most hated director in the world right now.'

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

The 100 Greatest Games Of All Time
You voted, we counted, and here they are: beat-'em-ups, shoot-'em-ups, RPGs, JRPGs, MMORPGs, RTSs, first-person shooters, platformers, sims and much more!

The Empire Podcast #124: Wesley Snipes And Terry Crews Talk Expendables 3
Plus the Empire team discuss the biggest movie news and reviews

Lists Of Our Lifetime: Empire's 25 Greatest Battles
From smalltime scraps to epic struggles, these are the conflicts that have stunned cinema since 1989

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)