Monday, February 16, 2009

Movie Review: Marley & Me (Dog days...)

Friend, photographer and fellow Manila Jaycee David Bernabe texted me this amusing joke:
“Test for who is man’s true best friend… Put your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for one hour. When you open the trunk, WHO IS REALLY HAPPY TO SEE YOU?”

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So the wife and I finally found time to catch a movie. And we chose rom-com “Marley & Me” over tentpole movies “Valkyrie,” “Seven Pounds,” and “Underworld.” We love dogs, we love Jennifer Aniston, and we want to watch a funny. So “Marley & Me” it was.

The trailers will have you think that it’s about a guy/gal and his/her dog. But it isn’t. In fact, for the most parts, Marley the dog just kicks things off then fades into the background until the rather anti-climatic ending, which incidentally turned my wife into a sniffling pile of mushy goop…

The movie follows the lives of Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as they go through the various stages of growing old and starting a family. Alan Arkin was terribly underused here, along with practically every other character save for the two leads and the dog who supposedly ages throughout the movie, but doesn’t really look it. At least not until the tail-end of the movie, where they obviously used an older mutt to play an aging Marley.

Owen Wilson really looked like he tried stupid and funny. But without Ben Stiller for him to play off against, he just came off as stupid. The attempt to give him a buddy in the form of “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Eric Dane didn’t get the build up it deserved. Kathleen Turner’s turn (no pun intended) as a dog trainer was a little too brief to be funny.

Coming off a best-selling autobiographical narrative by New York Times columnist John Grogan that supposedly spans thirteen years, it isn’t surprising that they couldn’t string together a plot with a point that can fit into two hours. There isn’t much plot to speak of in the movie, and no real crescendo-style conflicts to highlight a two-hour movie. The only thing really going for the movie was the easy chemistry between Aniston and Wilson. The eponymous canine “Marley” is really little more than a visual accessory. And it isn’t until the end do we see the emotional weight of the dog’s relationship with the Grogan family. But it had points of emotion and some funny highlights to at least not make it a total waste of time.

But it’s an inoffensive way to pass a couple of hours. So what the heck…

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Catch you later…

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