Film: Marley & Me
Director: David Frankel
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and Eric Dane
Marley & Me makes you cry and laugh. It’s the sort of film that makes you fall in love with the characters and their pet dog. A film that could have easily been one of the best dog movies since Beethoven is marred with too much effort at trying too hard.
The film is treated with great freshness. Instead of following the life of Marley or having him speak, the movie ingeniously traces the relationship between John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston).
Following everything from their marriage to birth of their children, from the ups and downs of their relationship to their professional lives; through all of it Marley has been there. Finally the film shifts focus on Marley, the not so obedient dog and has you cry as he is put to rest. What is essentially covered is how Marley or any dog for that matter is family and is there through thick and thin, watching, sensing and taking it all.
The freshness of the film bowls you over. Without having you know the film shows you everything that Marley is. It explores the life of Marley through the characters of John and Jennifer and eventually their kids.
What comes across instantly is the fact that the film is well scripted. The maker for certain knows how much is too much and when to tone things down. What is sad though is the fact that at times the finer nuances in the film go unnoticed because not too much attention is paid to it. Also, there are times in the film where too much time is dwelt upon John and Jennifer.
Filled with wit and good clean humor, with scenes like the one when John is hosing Marley’s poo in effort to find his wife’s swallowed chain, Marley & Me is a delight to see. The film captures the toughness of married life and the effort that goes into keeping a pet extremely well.
The scene where Aniston is trying hard to manage her kids and blows her top off when Marley ruins it for her, is extremely well done. The film is a fine example of a well executed adaptation of a book. No doubt it is a good film but having said that, there are areas where the film does drag.
One wonders if the film would have been crisper if it were not for the random visits to random characters. The film introduces you to characters like the next door neighbor and the fellow friend journalist, but when the film boils down to being about Marley you wonder what their contribution really is.
Technically you expect the film to be a lot better. With a film like this you want to see some build up which is missing, you want to see more of Marley and the importance of him in the characters life. Not to say it isn’t there, but perhaps more of it would send you on an emotional ride that you wouldn’t want to get off. The editing scissors seem blunt for the film where pace is concerned. It is slow and at times does not seem cohesive. But despite all this, the film works well and you know if it were a bit crisper you’d walk out loving it instead of merely liking it a lot.
Chemistry between actors is something that is crucial in any film and the only and prime reason Marley & Me perhaps does not get that WOW factor is because of this. While the chemistry of the actors with the dog is for everyone to see, it is that between Aniston and Wilson that turns cold. At times it just seems contrived, so much so it’s hard to believe. Aniston and Wilson in their roles are merely doing their part and are good enough. The frisky and adorable ‘Clearance’ puppy turned handsome dog steals the show hands down.
There’s no two ways about it, Marley & Me is a fabulous film for the entire family to watch. Chances are after this film your kids will want a dog. Go celebrate some family time with Marley & Me.