The tagline for this film is "The world's worst dog is back". Which, unless you focus on the phrase "worst dog" , is a complete lie.
Attempting to plunder a segment of the "Air Buddies" market, this film takes a recognised dog name and deflowers the concept. There is no connection to the original "Marley & Me" film beyond the name; and we are asked to ignore the fact that the puppy years were already dealt with in that film. Now Marley can talk, he has a different owner, and is entered in the kill-or-be-killed world of a local puppy training competition. Will and avoid this naughty dog stay focussed
and avoid trouble? No.
It is interesting to note a number of review sites that list some gentle name-calling and fart jokes as things to be aware of if you plan on showing this film to kids. What they don't seem to mention is the casual racism (Germans as the bad-guys, african-americans as inept jive talking service workers, the worst Australian accent ever spoken), or the cruelty to animals (shocked collars used to discipline etc). But post-colonial criticisms and PETA aside, we should not forget this film is for kids.
And you get what you expect. Nothing more. An adult audience will be able to predict the lines of dialogue before they are spoken for the entirety of the excruciating 90 minutes. The characters are two dimensional, the plot contains a number of non-sequiturs, as does the script. There is even a pie in the face gag, during the puppy show. Now I ask you, who is carrying around a cream pie in a dog show?
I was hoping for a dark turn at some point; where Marley would be forced to compete in an underground dog-fight to the death, but it never happened. I would have been happy with a leg-humping gag.
The half a star is for the Marley and Me rap song that plays in the credits, and for the thought that perhaps out there is someone who knows all the words.