Marley & Me, The Puppy Years (Twentieth Century Fox, 2011, 86 minutes, $9.99)
Step Right Up! Get Your Puppy Fix Right Here!
A feel-good movie. . . .
A take-off of the highly successful Buddy movies (Golden Retrievers),
I could watch the yellow lab puppies all night, even through the slapstick (clever), the unique antics and downward dog yoga poses, the low-crawling (the Army crawl – forward and backward) and the slo-mo.
Marine (because once a Marine, always a Marine) Drill Instructor granpa Fred (AKA ‘wrinkle guy’) who lives in the old Grogan house in Boca Raton (Summerville) gets to babysit his teenage grandson, Bodi Grogan, for a while, the Marine way, of course.
It just so happens that the Ultimate Puppy (Agility and Dock Diving*) Championship is fast approaching and neighbor teen Kayce is entering her team of Pugs, the Love Pup Buccaneers. She encourages Bodi to form a team of yellow lab pups so he proceeds to build a homemade agility course to train his team on.
Although the human acting is spotty, reality is apparent in that Kayce is taller than Bodi in life and in the movies at their age.
Enter Fuschia, Moose and Marley, the action-packed cutie pies who make up the Rasta Rascals team.
Fuschia of “I wish someone would have consulted me on the color scheme. A little pink would have been nice.”
Moose, the king of flatulence, is a bit fearful but wears a lucky chocolate moose collar charm.
Marley turns out to be “the world’s worst dog but the best friend a puppy could ask for.” (no surprise, there) He is also a klutz but when it is discovered he is dynamite jumper-into-the-water if he spies a cat, a secret weapon is born! (“If a dog cannot handle the job, call in a cat.”)
Competing teams include the small German Woof Gang – Leisl, Axel and Turbo - Dobes or Min Pins; The Thunder from Down Under, who else but the Australians (Aussies), led by Dundee; and the Border Collie TailBlazers.
Enter dognappers. Enter typical German bad guys.
Enter a girlfriend. Or two - one who is interested in Granpa, and Kayce whose family has a dog rescue, the Love Pups.
I won’t tell you who wins the team competition but Bodi is awarded the good sportsman trophy. Perhaps the judges never noticed the feline assist in dog dock-diving.
However, . . . .
Please don’t tie your dogs to a running treadmill and leave the room. Not safe.
Please don’t use shock collars on dogs – dogs don’t like pain (who does?) and when the Germans are ‘found out’ in the film, they are disqualified and escorted from the venue by Security (their pups end up being adopted).
The lab pups were 12-14 weeks old but using adult dog agility equipment – not the best idea since their growth plates have not yet closed but, after all, this is the land of make-believe movies so a bit of poetic license is permitted.
But, . . . on the other hand, . . . .
All pups were clicker trained (yippy skippy!), however I did not see the usual AHA statement at the end of the film.
*not for distance or height but for fun