John Grogan's memoir about life with “the world's worst dog” is the basis for this family picture directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), who doesn't consistently capture the book's personable tone. Early on, the film exudes a frantic sitcom vibe as married journalists Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson endure a period of adjustment breaking in their hyperactive Labrador retriever. The story's central part, in which the Grogans start a family, is strongest, as the stars effectively convey the stresses of juggling careers and child care. But the end, a drawn-out death scene, is manipulative and, contrary to the movie's feel-good marketing, likely to upset youngsters. With Eric Dane, Alan Arkin, and Kathleen Turner. PG, 115 min.
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