Though I have the utmost respect for director David Frankel and screenwriter Scott Frank, I cannot countenance another film based on a memoir of personal growth hitched to an author’s relationship with a dog. The emotional distance traveled is usually very small, while the narrative always ends with the faithful, furry companion keeling over. It’s just too easy. I don’t mind being emotionally manipulated by a well-crafted Hollywood drama, but sitting through a two-hour movie waiting for a cute canine to expire is hateful*.
So I’ll be skipping Marley & Me, an adaptation of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan’s memoir about how a chronically disobedient labrador retriever taught him to be a better husband/father/lover. Owen Wilson has been cast as the author, while Jennifer Aniston will play the wife who loses patience with the pooch. I have not read the book, but a cursory scan of the Amazon reader reviews confirms that, shock of shocks, it does indeed end with the death of the dog. Why a sensationally talented writer like Frank would waste his–, oh, right, the strike.
I’m not sorry that I’ve spoiled this movie because everyone who reads this site should be smart enough to know a) precisely where this fucker is headed, and b) why they should avoid it. The death of our own pets is absurdly tragic enough; spare yourself the misery.
Marley & Me is set up at Fox, with Gil Netter and Karen Rosenfelt producing.
*It’s also bad for business. I’ve long maintained that Turner & Hooch would’ve easily cracked $100 million domestic had they spared Hooch. The ending of that movie is an insanely unnecessary bummer.