14
Mar
09

Marley & Me

I went to see Marley & Me last night. Having enjoyed the book recently (quite against my will), I felt obliged to see it. I was initially put off by the concept of a largely fictionalised adaptation of a memoir (particularly one as personal as Marley & Me), but I figured it’s no more abnormal than Frost/Nixon and the likes. Seemingly few others are bothered by this, as the cinema was packed. I guess there’s something in a story about a dog that really strikes a cord with people. Or maybe it was because it’s about a family that’s actually quite happy. Not many films like this are ever made. Either way, a packed screen meant that there were a lot of chitty-chatty people not used to common cinema manners. I really longed for that guy who shouted “shut up!” at Watchmen last week.

As for the film, I’m afraid to say it translates very, very poorly. It comes across as a formulaic tear-jerker, in that it’s cheap, manipulative and (worst of all) very, very cheesy, all of which the book avoided. Now I’m very much a dog-person, but Jennifer Aniston has a line towards the end that made me want to kick a puppy. The thing is, I knew beforehand it would be like this, and I was well up for it. I was genuinely in the mood for “ahhhs” and “cooos” and even the occasional tear. Now I don’t deny there was a lump in my throat when Marley’s story reached its inevitable conclusion, and there were a few moments when I found it quite charming, but as a whole it comes across as quite a cynical film. It’s the kind of thing optioned by Hollywood executives purely because they saw the source material making millions, and didn’t really understand, much less care, what it was that made it so popular.

For all its faults, Watchmen can at least be said to be a labour of love. This, however, is little more than a cash-in. If you’re thinking of seeing it, I recommend you save your self the bother. Rent Babe or something instead.

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