Parents' Guide to

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Marley sequel better for kids but less memorable than first.

Movie PG 2011 86 minutes
Marley & Me: The Puppy Years Poster Image

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MARLEY & ME: THE PUPPY YEARS is an example of a sweet but ultimately unnecessary addition to the genre. But of course, Hollywood executives know very well that talking animals automatically attract pet-loving kids and their families. Marley is, as we witnessed in the original movie, an out-of-control puppy. But as if his own shenanigans aren't enough, here the filmmakers have created two more spunky canines to get in on the pranks. Kids will be amused -- the dogs are voiced by kids, do funny tricks, talk about farts, and are undeniably cute to look at -- but grown-ups will be underwhelmed by the paper-thin plot.

To pad out the lightweight storyline, the audience is introduced to a maniacal German dog-owner who's trying to sabotage the puppy competition, so his three pups will come out on top again. Hans (Alex Zahara) is stereotypically German and can't stand to lose; he even serves his dogs sauerkraut and sausage. Frankly, the best part of this movie is seeing veteran Canadian actor Rhodes -- who played the acerbic, chain-smoking Dr. Cottle on Battlestar Galactica -- again. The multi-generational banter between him and his on-screen grandson is refreshing (usually we're treated to kids complaining about their ancient, out-of-touch elders), but it's not enough to add any depth or emotion to this bland sequel. Still, if you're looking for an amusing but forgettable DVD diversion, this will do the trick for the kids.

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