A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?
— John Grogan
The story of newspaper columnist John Grogan, his wife and children and their manic Labrador Retriever Marley, the 2005 book became an unexpected success particularly amongst pet owners. It was made into The Film of the Book
in 2008, with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston
as the protagonists.
Got a Direct-to-Video
sequel, Marley and Me: The Puppy Years
with Marley Suddenly Voiced
This work provides examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: John and Jenny Grogan are NOT unattractive people. . .but they don't look like Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston either.
- Big Friendly Dog
- Bowdlerise: When numerous children expressed interest in the book, John Grogan put out a child- friendly version, eliminating the more adult content, namely the, er, frank discussion of marital relations (not just their sex life, but Jenny's miscarriage, problems with her second pregnancy and post-partum depression, etc.)
- Arguably, the complete exclusion of anything referencing 9/11 is an example of this, even though you'd figure a movie about a journalist would at least mention it.
- Canis Major
- Cruel to Be Kind: John decides to break Marley of his jumping habit by kicking him in the ribs... so that he won't have to give the dog away.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jen has her moments.
- Death by Newbery Medal: It sure as hell feels like this, but Marley was actually Doomed by Canon.
- The Film of the Book
- First Pet Story
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: After the birth of their third child, one of their first two says that their parents called her "Oops".
- The Hero Dies: Marley himself at the end.
- In Name Only: The sequel, which is just an Air Buddies clone.
- It Will Never Catch On: In a scene set in the early '90s, Jennifer Aniston writes about the efficiency of voting machines. Did we mention this is set in Florida?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Marley seems to be the canine version of this, although some of his actions suggest that he isn't really a jerk — just not that bright.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Justified, this happened in real life.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Marley is usually a happy-go-lucky, energetic, not-too bright dog. However, when a neighbor gets stabbed, he goes straight into guard dog mode. John Grogan later starts to wonder why he ever doubted Marley's protective capabilities
- Keet: Marley
- Meaningful Name: John and Jenny's second son is named "Conor", anglicized form of the Gaelic name "Conchobhar", which means "dog lover" or "wolf lover".
- Mood Whiplash: What first seems like a lighthearted movie for kids turns into a tearjerker near the end when Marley falls fatally ill and has to be put down.
- Never Trust a Trailer: This is not, repeat not, a slapsticky dog comedy for the kiddies.
- Averted with the one for the sequel. That one is the slapsticky dog comedy for the kiddies.
- The Nineties: The film's early scenes are set in the early '90s - note the outdated technology and the reference to Desert Storm
- However one scene in the mid `90s has the mother put on a Bob the Builder VHS for the kid. The show wouldn't come to America at least until 2001.
- John reads a newspaper which has the year 2001 on the date.
- Real-Life Relative: Owen Wilson's real parents play his character's parents.
- Right Now Montage: Used with the John Grogan character, showing him doing different things and writing about them and at the same getting to know Marley.
- Slice of Life
- Sudden Downer Ending: See Mood Whiplash.
- Timeshifted Actor: Done with the children. Conspicuously averted with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, who seem to remain ageless as their characters go from being a young couple to middle-aged parents.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Attempted with John and his wife, but interrupted with Marley jumping into the pool.