Marley & Me: The Puppy Years (2011)

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Wow!  Does anyone have a hot poker to hand, so I can poke my eyes out with it?  I cannot un-see what I’ve just seen! To prove I actually sat down and watched this drivel for the sake of a review, I will recite some of the story, thus:

The credits at the start have lots of cute pictures of Labradors, presumably just to get the viewer in the mood for what’s to come.  As I’m already bored by these pictures, I begin to read the credit and the words “and Grayson Russell as the voice of Marley” pop up on the screen.  Wait one doggone minute!  I thought Marley was a dog??  Okay, I’ll stick with it…

The basic story is that Marley is still a puppy and he has been entrusted to John and Jennifer Grogan’s nephew, Bodie (stupid name), while they are off ‘somewhere’ for the whole summer.  If you ask me, this is a little irresponsible to get a puppy and then go straight on holiday.  That poor dog is going to be so confused as to who its owners are.  Also, I feel a bit cheated that this was never mentioned in the first Marley & Me movie.  A whole summer is a big part of a puppy’s life, especially with all the shenanigans he gets up to.

No problem, I’ll suspend my disbelief and go with it.  Between leaving John and Jennifer and arriving at Bodie’s house, Marley has learnt to talk, albeit with a very dodgy CGI mouth.  Humans can’t hear him though, obviously!  It’s just used as a very lazy narrative tool to fill in the bits of story that the actors can’t portray and to take the viewer’s attention away from the terrible acting.

Bodie decides it would be a good idea to enter Marley and two other Labrador puppies into a dog show and I presume hilarity was supposed to ensue, but it never reared its chuckle-some head even once throughout the whole gruelling 86 minutes.

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years is a poor man’s Beethoven meets Look who’s talking Now and makes a mockery out of the original story and film by just trying to cash in on the success and churn out an abysmal, straight to video, movie (I use the word ‘movie’ incredibly loosely).  I would have had a lot more respect for it if they had just marketed it as a stand alone film and called it something completely different.  The studio execs who gave this the green light must have all been patting each other on the back, thinking it’s a brilliant story and they’re going to have a hit on their hands.  They all need lining up and shooting, quite frankly!

On the DVD box, it exclaims that it contains very mild threat and flatulence jokes.  Mild threat is always good and flatulence jokes are my favourite kind of jokes, but even those didn’t raise a smile from me.   It has an unpleasant soundtrack, featuring bubbly pop music and a specially created Marley & Me rap, which sounds like it’s sung by the main boy in it.

There is no need for me to mention the director or actors, as anyone who’s read this far will not be watching them in anything else and I’d rather have an arm off than be made to sit through the three featurettes on the DVD.

This movie is made for three to seven year olds, with the primary objective to make them bug their parents to buy them puppies and then they will be mortified when the dog doesn’t talk back to them!

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 14th November 2011.

Director: Michael Damian
Cast: Travis Turner, Donnelly Rhodes and Merrilyn Gann
Runtime: 86 min.
Country: USA

Film Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
DVD Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

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