Marley & Me ★★★

A kind of tribute to dogs and their importance in many people’s lives (Marley is a Labrador), this film, directed by David Frankel, begins as a charming and funny feel-good movie, but it develops into a more serious family drama in the second half, and is all the better for it. Instead of being overly manipulative, the film wisely relies on the viewer’s genuine emotional response to what is shown on the screen. Voice-over narration is occasionally used; it works well and is not distracting. While the movie is slightly too long, it does not overstay its welcome and is never boring. The most noteworthy sequence of the film is an almost dizzying montage that recounts a large number of events in a short time. Nice chemistry between a solid, charismatic Owen Wilson and a somewhat uninspired Jennifer Aniston in the lead roles; Eric Dane and Alan Arkin are very good in supporting roles. Based on the book "Marley & Me" by John Grogan.