love Alan Arkin. Even though I really wanted Eddie Murphy to win Best Supporting Actor for Dreamgirls last year, it was still wonderful to see one of our most underappreciated comedic performers earn some well overdue recognition from his peers. Bean had it comin’.

Now that Arkin’s got his Oscar, I guess it’s back to sporadically rewarding character work. To wit: he’s all set to play the editor/boss of Owen Wilson’s dog-crazed journalist in Marley and Me. I really wish I could be upbeat about this movie; it’s David Frankel’s follow-up to the shockingly enjoyable The Devil Wears Prada, and it’s got a screenplay by the immensely talented Scott Frank. Unfortunately, it’s a dog movie, and I fucking hate dog movies because, with very few exceptions, the animal always expires at the end. And while there’s always a comforting denouement where we see the human characters getting on with their lives (which often entails buying another dog), you’re still bummed out for the rest of the evening. A more honest experience would be hanging out at the city pound on destruction day.

I don’t know anyone who’s read John Grogan’s bestselling account of his family’s love/hate relationship with a hyperactive Labrador retriever, but I’m sure it’s got something to recommend it if Frank’s involved. Still, as I said in a previous item, we know where this is headed. And even the casting of Arkin is not enough to wear down my resistance to this lazily manipulative nonsense.

Marley and Me will begin shooting this spring for Fox 2000.