I recently succumbed to my curiosity and rented the movie "Marley & Me." I resisted this like the plague, since I read and loved the book and knew that a movie would not be able to do this wonderful story justice.
The movie centers on the Grogan family and their lovable, lug-of-a-dog Marley. The story begins with a young married couple, John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) Grogan, who adopt a dog as a gateway towards children.
They choose an adorable, little, golden-retriever pup and get ready to begin the next stage of their lives. Well, things didn't go exactly as planned. The tiny pup grows enormous, seemingly overnight, and becomes quite a doggy menace.
There are many scenes showing: John and Jenny running after Marley, Marley destroying everything in his path and the general chaos this dog inflicts on their daily lives.
Of course, they also show how, even though he's a big ball of destruction, he's a fabulously loyal dog and very much a part of the family.
I didn't love this movie, mainly because I read the book, but also because I didn't believe in the relationship between Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. These two exuded very little chemistry and it threw the whole love-story aspect off-kilter.
In addition to the misplaced chemistry, the scenes were lacking that heart-warming, organic flow. A portion of this could be attributed to the story's lengthy time span, but I feel the majority is a result of the painfully, mechanical writing. I know it's hard to have snappy dialogue when you have a hundred-pound pupper bouncing around, but a little more effort could have been used to avoid the blatant clichés and tearjerker manipulations.
I did enjoy the rapid-fire editing-accompanied by voice-over-which allowed many life moments to be realized quickly and efficiently. This technique moved the story along nicely and was extremely effective.
Bottom line: If you're a dog-lover, you will respond to the antics of the lovable Marley. If you're like me, you will give your own pupper (a fourteen-pound mini-Marley for me) an extra squeeze as the movie nears the end. Have lots of tissues handy.
Better yet... read the book, it's so much better. Tissues will still be necessary.