Marley & Me

Rated 3.0

I find it a little unfair that Marley and Me has been billed as a family comedy. Surely, it has its funny moments, what with Owen Wilson and a misbehaving yellow Lab as the stars. But somewhere at about the halfway point, the film turns from happy-go-lucky to real-life drama, almost knocking the kids out of the target-audience pool altogether. The movie, based on the best-selling book by John Grogan (Wilson), starts with the marriage of John and Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) and follows the couple through jobs at various newspapers—both are reporters/columnists—and various cities and stages in life and marriage. The constant is their dog, Marley, who doesn’t obey anybody (not even the husky Kathleen Turner) but is a sweetheart nonetheless. The comedy gives way to drama when John and Jenny’s relationship begins to falter and family life, careers, goals for the future—basically, pretty heavy meaning-of-life issues—are introduced. Wilson and Aniston are good together, and show an almost natural chemistry. But what really makes the movie is the sweet, spunky dog who livens things up and reminds us not to take things too seriously. But even then, by the end, I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the theater. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13