REVIEW: Pooch picture an emotional roller coaster
I chose to review the movie Marley & Me, not knowing much about the film walking in.
The only things I did know were that it stars a cute Labrador and was billed as a comedy in the trailers I saw.
Little did I know that this movie was so much more than a funny dog story, and it wound up sending me on an emotional roller coaster from laughing, to boredom, to crying.
The movie is based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by journalist John Grogan and tells the story of John (Owen Wilson) and his wife Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) and how their lives are forever changed by a dog named Marley.
Adopting a puppy, rather than jumping right into parenthood, turns out to be far more work than the couple planned on.
Marley is instantly a terror, destroying their garage, eating as much food as he can get his paws on and chewing up absolutely everything in sight.
The movie does have funny moments that actually made me laugh out loud.
At one point, Marley attempts to jump out of the Grogans' car while it's moving, forcing them to stop midday traffic to avoid a catastrophe.
To deal with their unruly dog, the Grogans resort to taking Marley to obedience school, where even the tough and haggard trainer (Kathleen Turner) has no effect on him.
Eventually they accept that their dog is a loveable monster who truly becomes a member of their family.
At the urging of his editor (Alan Arkin), John switches from being a reporter to writing a column for his newspaper. Marley's mischief ultimately becomes a recurring theme in John's column, which becomes an instant hit.
The story continues as the couple adds children to their family over the years, which further complicates Marley's uncontrollable nature.
Despite a few funny moments, though, the movie drags on and actually becomes boring.
Director David Frankel, who also directed The Devil Wears Prada, unsuccessfully employs some techniques to progress the story, including a montage of John's column topics and the family's day-to-day life.
In addition, the middle of the film, which is where plot development should be taking place, reveals very little of the story.
There are several scenes unrelated to the plot, including some involving John's single friend Sebastian (Eric Dane). It became apparent to me why this story was such a great book, but a less than stellar movie.
Running the emotional gamut, this movie also turns into a tear-jerker at times, and it causes the viewer to feel the deep love the characters have for each other.
But despite the tears, I walked away from this movie not caring too much about the people in this story, except at their lowest emotional point.
Marley & Me turns out to be a story about the entire Grogan family rather than just a terribly behaved dog.
It is cute, funny, sad and sometimes slow, but overall not a terrible movie. I give it a 3 out of 5 and it's perhaps best left to watch on DVD.
© 2009 DennisBusch.net, University Journal