Marley’s a purebred, but reviews are mixed
The reviews are in, and there’s widespread agreement that Marley is … a cute dog.
All 22 of him.
That’s how many yellow labs the moviemakers used in the making of Marley & Me, reviews for which are — unlike the dog — mixed.
Associated Press movie critic Christy Lemire said the movie has “more than its share of hanky moments … We’re not talking about just a tear or two welling up — we’re talking grown men and women snuffling and sobbing uncontrollably, then dashing from the theater before the lights come up to avoid making eye contact with all the other blubbering saps.
“Seeing the ending, in all its horrifically sad detail, is bad enough if you’re a grown-up (and a dog person). If you’re a little kid expecting a happy puppy movie, “Marley & Me” could cause serious trauma requiring hours of therapy and many scoops of ice cream to repair.
But Lemire conludes that “it’s not a particularly good movie” and has “no great momentum … just a long, flat arc toward the inevitable.”
(Flat arc? Can there be such a thing?)
The Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore writes that, in the movies final third, “whatever tears director David Frankel … may try to wring out of us, the almost lifeless movie that comes before guarantees those tears won’t come.”
“Marley aims to draw life lessons out of years spent with an impulsive, untrained and “un trainable” dog. It promises whimsy and hijinks and little moments of “learning.” But the film hasn’t been cast, shot or edited in a way that allows much of that to make it from book to screen.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, on the other hand, gushes that Marley & Me is “the single most endearing and authentic movie about the human–canine connection in decades.”
“Marley & Me celebrates two ordinary people as they try to fit love, work, children, and one volcanically misbehaved pooch into a single space. Marley may be the dog from hell, but we’re meant to see that the Grogans, in their hearts, wouldn’t have it any other way. Marley stands in for all the unruliness that can never be domesticated out of life.”