Golden boy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You can already feel the pressure on Marley & Me, from Jennifer Aniston's comeback hopes and Owen Wilson's need to get past personal troubles and mediocrity like Drillbit Taylor. On the other hand, the film itself feels unburdened, light and content to give audiences some laughs, some tears and a warm, gooey sensation.

You'll get that out of this adaptation of John Grogan's memoir about learning adult responsibility from a handful of a yellow Lab, and as a surprise bonus, you probably won't feel too cheap afterward.

Directed by The Devil Wears Prada's David Frankel and co-written by Scott Frank (Out of Sight) and Don Roos (Single White Female), the production is a notch above the pabulum it could've been.

Not every move by the filmmakers is as clever as the best dialogue and stylistic choices. Their take on the story of journalist Grogan (Wilson), his wife Jenny (Aniston), their dog Marley and their growing family isn't above throwing the occasional emotional wrench. In a supporting role as John's world-traveling colleague, Eric Dane is so blatantly meant to tease the life Grogan could've had, he might as well wear the statement as a T-shirt slogan.

Yet the other major supporting player, Alan Arkin, adds to the film's charm, while warm chemistry between Wilson and Aniston enhance its organic properties. And of course, there's the dog, a Christmas present for Labrador retriever breeders across the country.

"Marley and Me"

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Grade: B-