Marley and Me cover

As a fair number of reviewers have pointed out, this is at least as much the story about a family- how a family forms, strengthens, expands to include children – at least as much as it is about the dog of the title. Marley the golden lab is huge, affectionate, and impervious to attempts at discipline— and a one-dog canine wrecking crew. At one point, one of his owners exclaims “He once ate the answering machine… and then he came back for the phone!”

Like all good stories about a marriage, it starts at the beginning – with Josh and Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) on the evening after their wedding, and a brisk sprint through the snow. Impulsively, they decided they want to work someplace else, someplace where it is warm. She is the driven one; he is a bit more laid-back. He only winds up with a job at a Palm Beach newspaper because she has encouraged him to do it. They settle for a funky little house, in the not-so-good part of town, and decide that before having children, maybe they should try out a dog. Almost on impulse, they wind up with a rambunctious lab puppy they name after their favorite musician, Bob Marley – and in spite of his exasperating bent for destruction, they love him anyway. Stuck for a topic for a regular newspaper column, Josh writes about Marley. Over the next fourteen years, three children and as many houses, several promotions, Marley is a constant; perhaps the only constant in their lives, save for each other.

The ending is a bit of a weeper; so expected among us humans, with a natural lifespan longer than that of our family pets. This is what it will come to; that final trip to the vet and burial in that special place in the yard which they had marked as theirs.

Of the generous extras on this disc, I thought the omitted scenes were the most amusing, as they filled in some of the small sidelights and characters. The feature about training and working with the various yellow Labradors cast as Marley was fascinating. I also thought the ‘Animal Adoption’ feature was an excellent addition – and of course, Marley’s antics throughout the movie were a pretty strong recommendation against picking out a dog just because it’s such a cute little puppy. I’d guess that in reality, a dog as willful and destructive as Marley would eventually finish up at a shelter, rather than having a long and happy life with a loving family.

Marley And Me is available through and at other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book project, “The Adelsverein Trilogy” is also available at and selected local outlets. More about her books is at her website

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