3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
OK but the book is much, MUCH better,
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This review is from: Marley & Me [DVD] (DVD)
I read the book before seeing the film and so I was surprised that two of the key episodes in the book which are guaranteed to make you burst out laughing were omitted from the film. These were the "I think we just met Dad" episode and the nappy-sniffing theme. You'll need to read the book to understand their importance, but in missing them from the film, huge opportunities for greatly humourous scenes were lost.
In most other respects, the book is pretty faithful to the book but Marley's sheer lunacy never really leaps out of the screen. Wrecked garages are seen, and shredded furniture, but it all seems rather dull in comparison to Grogan's quality writing in his book.
But, for me, the biggest flaw in the film is the casting of Aniston and Wilson. They were just too safe and obvious a choice. Of the two, Aniston does the better job - better than I expected - especially during the parts of their lives when Jen Grogan lost the first baby and then, later on, when post natal depression took over her life.
Owen Wilson seems to sleepwalk and mumble through most of the film. His performance is almost flat at times and, as is so often the case in his films, he only seems to be Owen Wilson. He seems to be in the sort of character and casting rut that trapped (and still traps??) Hugh Grant. Never once did I see Wilson as Grogan whereas Aniston did occasionally manage to break out of her overly-familiar 'Friends' mode. But on balance you don't ever really see real people who lived a real life with a real and really eccentric dog. You see two actors mostly being themselves.
As for Marley? The various dogs who take his part do a good job and thanks to some exellent trainers, there are many funny scenes - but nothing as laugh-out-loud as happens when you read the book.
So in the end, my advice is - read the book. It's hugely better than this rather limp version and how on earth could they miss out the 'Dad' and 'nappy' scenes? The 'Dad' scene in particular, and what happened before it, is essential to understanding what on earth makes Marley into that 'worst dog in the world'.
Other books that I can recommend which feature dogs and their owners which are very well written and funny are -
Travels with Charley: In Search of America (Penguin Modern Classics)
Marley wasn't the only 'worst dog in the world' though ...
DUDLEY: THE WORST DOG IN THE WORLD.
The latter book has now been updated -
The Complete Dudley: Further Misadventures of the Worst Dog in the World