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Marley & Me: The Puppy Years (Blu-ray Review)

14 Aug, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 8/16/11
$22.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
‘PG’ for some mild rude humor.
Available exclusively at Walmart.
Stars Travis Turner, Donnelly Rhodes.

Picture a four-legged, fur-covered Dennis the Menace and you have Marley, the cute but troublemaking yellow Labrador Retriever that is the star of the direct-to-video comedy Marley & Me: The Puppy Years.

The prequel to 2008’s Marley & Me shows just how ill-mannered the little guy is when he’s under the care of a temporary owner. Bodie Grogan (Travis Turner) has been tasked with watching over Marley (voiced by Grayson Russell), whose owners are away for the summer. The tween would love to have a dog of his own, but his mother (Chela Horsdal) needs convincing that Bodie can handle the responsibility.

To prove he has what it takes to be a trustworthy pet owner, Bodie makes a deal with his mom: If he can train Marley by the time she returns from a business trip, she’ll consider getting him a canine companion all his own. But this is easier said than done, as Bodie has his hands full looking after mischievous Marley. And the shenanigans multiply as Bodie coaches Marley and his newfound pals, Moose (voiced by Ryan Grantham) and Fuchsia (Lauren Lavoie), for the Ultimate Puppy Championship, leaving the viewers rooting for these underdogs.

Yes, The Puppy Years is in the same vein as the “Beethoven” films. Yes, the CG animation of the dogs’ mouths is reminiscent of a K9 Advantix commercial. Yes, there are cheesy one-liners. (My fave: A pug yells, “Air mail,” when a mailman spills his bag of parcels and letters). However, the film is enjoyable as a family movie that strives for nothing more than laughs and warm fuzzies.

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years also features bonus material that will keep your tail wagging, including the “Marley & Me: The Puppy Years Goes to Training Camp,” “Part of the Family” and “My Favorite Moments” featurettes.

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