A Good Marriage Review
I have been Stephen King fan all of my life. To me, he truly has earned his nickname of "The Master of Suspense." He can take the most asinine idea on paper, and turn into something terrifying. Take his short story "The Lawnmower Man" for example, in that story an obese lawnmower man who magically controls his lawnmower while he eats the cut grass naked. Yep, you read that right, that is the basic premise of the story. But somehow, through his unique writing style, King made that premise freaky. Honestly, if a naked fat man was eating the grass of your lawn, would you or would you not be scared? King finds the creepiness and everything, and has a unique gift of exploiting it.
What is sad is that a limited number of his books-turned-movies are ever good. Whether they are big screen adaptations or TV mini-series', the only King adaptations that have truly stood out to me where "The Shawshank Redemption," "The Green Mile," "The Shining," "Carrie" (original) and "Stan By Me." What is funny is that out of those five suggestions, only two of them come from horror roots. Everything else attempted, especially from his suspense genre, has been pretty close to garbage in my opinion. "A Good Marriage," despite a script penned by King himself, is another movie that doesn't live up to the King himself.
To describe the film's plot would ultimately describe nothing. There are remnants of good ideas, pieces of plot that would be perfect for a Stephen King tale, but nothing comes to fruition. It is the most bizarre screenplay for a movie I have ever seen in awhile. At first it seems to follow Darcy (Joan Allen) is being monitored by a stalker (Stephen Lang, whose character is never given a name.) Then it shifts gears and points at the possibility that Darcy's husband Bob (Anthony LaPagalia) is a serial killer. Then the film drops those narratives and forces us to watch Darcy and Bob's lives. Then somebody dies, the stalker reveals himself and the movie is over. That is literally the whole movie. There is nothing even close to cohesiveness in the film's story structure. There is nothing that creates a fully-functioning storyline or character. The movie feels like pages of a couple of different script drafts that somehow got cobbled together for one movie.
Joan Allen and Anthony LaPagalia do fine work here, it's just their characters are so inconsistent. LaPagalia in particular has some magnificently creepy scenes and he does them incredibly well, they just serve a story that goes nowhere and is pretty limp. Stephen Lang is good during the last ten minutes of the movie, when his character finally begins to speak. I love Lang quite a bit, but his interesting character is completely wasted on a stupid script.
Easily the biggest problem with "A Good Marriage" is that it is never, ever scary. This is based on a novella by Stephen King, and King himself wrote the script. I should have been afraid to sleep tonight. King has written some of the nastiest, creepiest, most disturbing stories of our time. Since I didn't even come close to jumping during the films 102 minute run-time speaks volumes about how this film accomplished its goals. There is never one moment that comes close to raising an audiences hair. That for me was the most disappointing thing about the whole experience.
To say "A Good Marriage" is the worst Stephen King movie to date, would feel like a slap on the wrist. This movie is the most painfully dull Stephen King movie by far.
FINAL GRADE: F