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Marley and Me (3-Disc Bad Dog Edition) - Blu-ray DVD / romantic comedy DVD / drama DVD review
Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, Kathleen Turner, Alan Arkin, Nathan Gamble
Directors: David Frankel Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 31 March 2009 Runtime: 115 min.
(3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English - DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French, Spanish, Portugese), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, Portugese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean), Dog Training Trivia Track, Dog Training 101 (w/ BonusView Video), Deleted Scenes w/ commentary (dir. David Frankel), Finding Marley, Breaking the Golden Rule, On Set with Marley: Dog of All Trades, Animal Adoption, Purina Dog Chow Marley & Me video contest finalists, Purina Dog Chow Video Hall of Fame, Gag Reel, When Not to Pee, Digital Copy, Marley & Me single DVD

If you've never owned a pet you may not entirely get Marley and Me. Cohabitation with a long-living pet is a trial, both a joy and a pain. I say cohabitation, because it's not really ownership. I can't say I've ever owned any of the many pets in my life. Cared for, yes. Disciplined and doctored, sure. Owned? It might go the other way around. These pets have kept me on for years to suit their needs, and by their grace I am allowed the honor of petting them.

So it is with John and Jennifer Grogan in Marley and Me. When we first meet the Grogans, they're so freshly married that they're still covered in rice. John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) are newspaper reporters in the days when newspaper offices still teem with activity. Just after the wedding, they move from Michigan to Florida as part of Jennifer's master plan. First step marriage; next step, move somewhere warm. it is understood that an eventual next step is to procreate. John tries to put this off by getting a dog. John and Jennifer go to look at puppies and choose the cheap one. The dog breeder must have some insight into what kind of dog they choose to have priced him so attractively. The clearance puppy they name Marley will turn into a great and terrible dog with a lust for destruction balanced in perfect proportion to his cuteness, loyalty, and sensitivity, so as to make him difficult to get rid of.

John's job as a reporter never gives him the thrills he's hoping for. He's never given the rough-and-tumble stories, but must cover the power struggle at the rotary club and other local back-page items. He longs to be like his friend Sebastian (Eric Dane), who gets the stories on leaders of the third world or the drug trade. These assignments elude John, and we can feel his yearning. Sebastian is off around the world while John picks up the poo in the yard and puts up with Marley's destructive nature.

Marley seems impossible to keep in line. He flunks out of obedience school when Ms. Kornblut (Kathleen Turner) pronounces him untrainable. Marley continues to tear up the floor, pillows, drywall, anything that is carelessly left at dog level. Still, Marley is a part of their family and they must put up with his nature.

Marley and Me celebrates the joy and pain of the life of this lovable Labrador. He's with them through thick and thin, through the birth and growth of their children, and we see the entire life span of Marley from youth to his passing. I tell you this not to ruin the story for you, but to warn viewers with sensitive children. My kids would love parts of this, but I don't know how they'd take the ending. We had our own passing not too long ago - a family cat also named Marley. We'd had her since before the kids came along, and her death hit us all hard. Marley and Me touched me in the way it paralleled my life with my own Marley. John's relationship with Marley is well done; the dialog the two of them share (admittedly mostly on Wilson's part) really shows a warmth and affection that all pet owners can relate to.

The Blu ray edition is a 3-disc set that includes the Blu-ray, the DVD (with special features), and a digital copy. This, I LOVE. All Blu- ray editions should do it this way to make the purchase more valuable. Never can tell when you'll want to watch in the car or on one of the remaining low-def sets in the house. The HD edition is crisp and beautiful, especially in some of the area-establishing shots.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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