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Marley and Me

What life is complete without a rambunctious dog?

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Newspaper columnist John Grogan (Owen Wilson) and his wife (Jennifer Anniston) adopt a Labrador puppy, known formally as "Marley" and informally as "the worst dog in the world," for his rowdy behavior. David Frankl adapts Grogan's popular eponymous memoir that tracks Marley's lovable and frustrating antics as the pooch's life coincides with relatable bumps and triumphs of Grogan's own life: new jobs, new kids, new homes and, along the way, new appreciations of his normal, middle-class, middle-age existence. Wilson and Anniston may be a tad too glossy (albeit with oh-so-perfect shaggy hairdos) to remind you of your actual neighbors, but each gives an amiable portrayal. (A nod should go to the several dogs, along with their trainers, who convincingly play Marley: For this film, good dogs had to learn to act bad.) A pleasant movie for the holidays -- it's less frantic than the trailers make it appear -- though the sensitive should be forewarned: Marley's final hours get a lot of coverage.

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