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MARLEY & ME – Theodore Shapiro

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A light romantic drama based on the hugely popular best selling novel by John Grogan, Marley & Me is the story of the ups and downs in the relationship of a married couple, John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), told from the point of view of their boisterous, mischievous golden retriever, Marley. The film is directed by David Frankel, and has a score by Theodore Shapiro, who scored Frankel’s previous film, The Devil Wears Prada in 2006.

As one would expect, considering the film’s subject matter, Shpiro’s score is generally light, romantic and contemporary, consisting mainly of upbeat orchestral themes augmented by electric and acoustic guitars and various urban percussion items. The opening cue, “Parents of Two”, is pretty, and later cues such as “The Hardest Job”, “When It’s Time” and the admittedly rather lovelt “It All Runs Together” accentuate the tender, romantic side of the score with soft cues that sometimes feature intimate harp and piano writing and warm muted brasses.

Cues such as “Off and Running”, “Walking the Plank”, “Two Year Montage” and “Boy and Dog” are livelier, incorporating more energetic rock elements into the framework of the score, while cues such as “Obedience School” and “Leg Love” even raid the classics for inspiration, with a touch of Ravel’s Bolero, and even some traditional Spanish flamenco music. When the film relocates to Ireland, Shapiro’s music goes with it, with sparkling fiddle-de-dee jigs and pennywhistles that are very pleasant, but enormously predictable and somewhat clichéd.

It’s all very enjoyable, and certainly illustrates Shapiro’s versatility and acumen for writing orchestro-rock music, but I have to admit that I’m beginning to worry about the direction his career is taking; he impressed he greatly early in his career, and I assumed that within a few years he would have moved away from the light romantic comedy genre and onto more meaty projects, but this hasn’t happened; with the exception of Tropic Thunder, which required more action music, he his music has been stuck firmly in the parody/silly comedy/romance arena, and it’s starting to become repetitive.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Parents of Two (1:49)
  • Off and Running (0:51)
  • The Hardest Job (1:33)
  • Walking the Plank (1:30)
  • Obedience School (1:19)
  • Leg Love (1:05)
  • Two Year Montage (3:23)
  • Moving to Boca (1:53)
  • First Sleepless Night (2:05)
  • When It’s Time (1:10)
  • Off to Ireland (1:53)
  • Dog Farm (1:19)
  • Boy and Dog (1:00)
  • Lost in the Rain (0:43)
  • Employed (1:07)
  • All Good Dogs (0:55)
  • Evil with a Dog Face (0:45)
  • Labor Pains (1:18)
  • No Regular Dog (1:27)
  • Snow (1:03)
  • Jen Says Goodbye (1:50)
  • It All Runs Together (4:03)
  • Heading Home (2:15)
  • Marley & Me (3:32)

Running Time: 39 minutes 48 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-340532 (2008)

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