Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Marley and Me (2008)
Directed by David Frankel. I have to admit that this was better than I was expecting it to me. Going into it I was aware of two things: first, that it would go for a lot of cheap, cute dog-based emotional appeal and second, that it would make a play for depth by killing off the dog. I doubt I am spoiling anything for you by confirming that both of these things happened.
I'll admit that I did not particularly dread the dog-based shamelessness of this movie because I sort of like cute dogs and do not as a general habit bother much with cute dog movies. So I have room for this sort of thing. Also, while I am baffled by the country's fascination with Jennifer Aniston, I do not as a general habit bother with her any more than cute dogs, despite finding her at least as cute and thus also have room for her in a movie of this sort.
But the real point is that I was surprised to find that this movie was not so much about the cute dog or the cute girl as the man who was played by Owen Wilson, whose as an actor is not what you could call rangey but fits the clearly deliberate design of the rest of the film's casting, which was to be as appealing as possible in a screamingly caucasian sort of way.
So the movie is actually about the sacrifices a man makes in his career, friendships, lusts and even certain loves, all in order to cultivate and maintain the most critical loves of his life. Like most American popcorn movies, even though this is not communicated in a particularly sophisticated way it is generally entertaining and there is one stabbing.