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UNEQUAL SEQUELS – ‘Marley & Me: The Puppy Years’

Our generation has been gifted with glorious motion pictures that allow us to transcend reality and belief to enter a fictitious world of imagination and story telling, or something like that…I don’t know. MOVIES! That’s what I’m talking about. Here at Fan Fest, we appreciate and spotlight all kinds of movies. Personally, some of my favorite movies include Aliens, Evil Dead: Dead By Dawn, and The Road Warrior. Now, what do these ALL have in common? Besides all being super overvalued, they’re sequels! Well…Evil Dead isn’t really a sequel; it’s like a half-sequel half-reboot half- WHATEVER WHO CARES. 

Alright enough of this pointless introduction, let me get to the point. FanFest.com presents Unequal Sequels! A series where we break down horrible sequels piece by piece until my very sanity breaks down as well. When I say horrible sequels, I’m not talking about Son of The Mask or Speed 2. I’m talking DEEPER than that. Straight-To-DVD territory. The stuff that even Netflix wouldn’t dare to touch. The movies that are so bad, they’re NOT fun to watch; just extremely painful.

That’s what Marley & Me: The Puppy Years was. Now before I say what I’m about to say, I want to give a SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t seen the original Marley & Me. If you haven’t, then why are you even reading this…get out.

Well now that the spoiler warning is up there, let me just say I’d rather watch the ending to Marley & Me where the dog dies 50 times in a row instead of watching this movie again.

This sequel focuses on a young puppy-version of Marley, because you know, Marley dies at the end of the first one. So in as brief of a summary as I can, this movie is about Marley having to stay at his neighbor’s house while his owners are away doing some vacation-writing thing somewhere else. The boy really wants a dog of his own so be bets his Mom that if he can get Marley to win the Ulttimate Nation Dog Training Competition then he can get one. With the help of his Grandpa and some neighbor girl that he’s extremely awkward around, they put together a team of Pups that do ‘meh’ at the competition.

Alright, let’s point out how this sequel is genuinely unequal to the original:

  • Let’s get the big one out of the way…Marley can talk. Yup. He can literally speak now, except I’m not sure 100% whether people could understand him or not. It’s kind of like Stewie from Family Guy. Sometimes the boy would directly respond to Marley, so I’d be left confused as fudge. But not only Marley talks, all animals could talk too.
  • They focus a LOT on this whole “World’s Worst Dog” thing that the movie is trying to market Marley’s character as. I get it, he’s bad, but he’s not THAT bad. My dog chewed up my Invisalign braces and cost me like $800. THAT’S bad.
  • It’s almost as if the humans were the real idiots of the film instead of the dogs. I felt like I was watching some slapstick Disney Channel Original movie the entire time.
  • For some reason, Marley was overwhelming obsessed with SPAM.
  • Oh GOD. The CRINGIEST relationship between the boy and the love-interest. Quite possibly the worst on-screen chemistry between young actors I’ve ever seen. I’ve witnessed better fist-bumps between platonic friends in an anti-drug PSA.
  • I’m not sure if this girl was even the love-interest. They never kiss or hug in the end, only this awkward fist-bump that they kept fake messing up on-screen. All they ever really did was drink Coke as they awkwardly sat by the pool and tried to memorize their lines.
  • I also had no clue who the main character was. Is it this boy or Marley? The narrative would focus on one of them but just completely fall off and focus on someone else, but that could have just been the poor writing. I’m going to assume that the intention was for the focus to be on Marley, as opposed to the original where the focus is on the family and Marley’s impact on them.
  •  Similar to the original movie, Marley is still afraid of thunder. Except in THIS movie, since we can hear his inner narrative, we find out he does it just for attention. Clever, Marley. Clever. So next time my dog is crying and scared, I’ll know it’s all just an act.
  • This movie had an actual main antagonist in the form of the evil German millionaire who competes against them with his team of abused explosive-collared German Shepherds. Hmm don’t seem to remember any evil Germans in the first movie.
  • They pushed stereotypes HARD in this movie, almost as if that’s where half of the indented comedy was. Whether it’s the German antagonist acting very “leader-like” to his minions, Marley
    saying “Yo yo yo” when two African-Americans take him to get groomed, or Marley’s team having a very heavy Rastafarian-theme because of the whole ‘Bob Marley’ thing. Worst of all they had an Australian dog named “Dundee” who’s accent was atrocious and all he could do was quote Crocodile Dundee. As a previous resident of Australia I found this OFFENSIVE. The voice actor wasn’t even really Australian, I CHECKED!
  • The movie ends with Marley dreaming of being a superhero and flying through the sky with his Cat sidekick that has a French-accent. Credits roll. Pretty different than the original.

 

The original movie was full of heart and focused on a single man and his wife, showing how their family started with just a simple pup and continued growing bigger and bigger just as Marley did. This movie shared nothing with its predecessor except a dog name, this movie just looked like an Air Buddies rip-off (Which, unfortunately, I will also focus on in a future installment of Unequal Sequels). The worst part of this movie is how depressed I felt by the end, even more so than the first movie. When the credits rolled, I was left with the daunting reality that Marley moves away after being a puppy in the original movie. Considering the boy gets a dog of his own at the end, I’m left depressed by the thought of Marley having to leave all of  new dog friends and this family that he ‘helped’; meanwhile, they probably forgot all about him.

 

 

On the cringe meter, I give Marley & Me: The Puppy Years a SOLID 3.5 out of 5 clip art stars, which is not good…that means the hair on the back of my neck stood up almost FOUR times.

But before you go, let me pitch to you MY version of a solid Marley & Me sequel.

Okay, so the kids from the original movie are all grown up and living in the same house together. Their parents are put in a home because of their severe mental disabilities, the very disabilities that strained the relationship between these two brothers. When getting in a drunken fight one night, during a storm, they take the fight outside where they wrestle over Marley’s grave. The sheer force behind this brotherly brawl causes lightning to strike Marley’s grave, calling upon his spirit to come back to the living world and bring this broken family back together. I call it, Marley & Me: Ghost Fetch.

 

Let me know which Unequal Sequel I should watch again next time, which you can read about only at Fanfest.com!

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Danny Coughlin

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Danny Coughlin is known by society as a World Traveler and National Treasure. But amongst his peers, Danny is known as the kid that likes to use comedy and narcissism to cover up his deep and inner insecurities. Danny is a Communications student at Eastern Connecticut State University and hopes to pursue a career in Entertainment Law...until reality hits him and he ends up managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.