Marley and Me
Unashamedly sentimental, it would still take a heart of pebbles not to find parts of this film touching, even if does sometimes ram said sentiment down your throat. Marley and Me is based on the apparently true story of John Grogan (Wilson), a journalist who buys a puppy for his missus (Aniston), when she starts getting broody for some offspring, in order to hopefully distract her long enough for him to get his head around becoming a father. The puppy grows into hyperactive, ball of mayhem Marley, and becomes a truly integral part of their family, as they have kids and go through the many trials and tribulations of life over the course of a decade or so. It is easy to see why this film was a huge hit at the American box-office; the congenial stars, cute dog and general all round family friendly content render this the perfect film for the easily offended. Aniston and Wilson are a convincing and attractive couple, but their relationship is never fully realised enough to give any interaction depth, while the kids are given even less to play with, and still struggle to coherently mutter lines. It's not really a comedy or a drama, and, especially towards the end, the tone switches down an inevitable gear to tear-jerkingly ponderous, with the subtly of a Great Dane humping your leg - you can't stop it, so best just to let them get on with it. That's not to say that there isn't fun to be had here; if you take this film at face value, you will undoubtedly enjoy yourself. The Devil Wears Prada helmer Frankel does a good job of hiding the script's many shortcomings, with a nod-worthy soundtrack and picturesque locations aplenty, while Alan Arkin once again manages to steal every scene he's in. Although disposable and heavy-handed, this will ultimately please the masses, who may just leave the cinema with a damp hanky for comfort.
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