Film: Marley and Me

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 (2011) with Marley Suddenly Voiced. Err...yeah.

This work provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: In the film, John writes lots of colums about Marley in the newspaper throughout the dog's life. In the book/real life, John didn't write about Marley until after his death.
    • When John and his family are burying Marley in the film, Jenny gives up her necklace that Marley had once swallowed to bury with him. Whether she did this in real life or not is not mentioned in the book.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Will naturally happen when you're adapting a book into a 2-hour film. Most noticable however might be how John in real life had a dog as a child and both he and Jenny were determined to have one together as they were both dog lovers. In the film, John comments that he's never had a dog before and he decides to get one on a whim, something he surprises Jenny with.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: John and Jenny Grogan are NOT unattractive people... but they don't look like Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston either.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: A canine version. Although he's clearly an older dog, the supposedly dying Marley looks quite handsome and healthy, rather than the thinning, elderly creature described by John Grogan in the book.
  • Big Friendly Dog
  • Big "NO!": In the book, John had one when he witnessed Marley about to take a dump on the beach, something that could get dog owners forbidden from walking their dogs there.
  • Bowdlerise: When numerous children expressed interest in the book, John Grogan put out a child-friendly version, eliminating the more adult content, namely the 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
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass/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.
  • 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, Jenny 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.
  • Laughing At Your Own Jokes: John says that his boss told him not to end sentences with an exclamation point because it's like laughing at your own joke. John says that sometimes you need to laugh at your own joke, because it's funny.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Justified, this happened in real life.
  • 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.
    • Similarly, with the book. Kids naturally gravitated towards it because of the picture of the handsome labrador on the cover, but it isn't geared toward children at all. John Grogan recalls cringing from the dirty looks parents would give him at book signings, prompting him to write the tamer version cited above.
  • The '90s: 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s):

Marley And Me