Theodore Shapiro

Marley & Me [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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By 2008, composer Theodore Shapiro had become the go-to guy for Hollywood comedies, his scores including You, Me and Dupree, The Devil Wears Prada, and Tropic Thunder. The movie adaptation of John Grogan's best-seller Marley & Me was directed by David Frankel, who also directed The Devil Wears Prada, and co-starred Owen Wilson, also co-star of You, Me and Dupree, so it was no surprise that Shapiro was brought in to do the music. A light comedy about a dog, the picture inspires a set of gently engaging tracks from the composer, who deftly mixes pop/rock and symphonic arrangements. He rocks out on "Walking the Plank," uses a tango for "Obedience School," and introduces an appropriately sprightly Celtic feel in "Off to Ireland." With 24 cues in less than 40 minutes, the music rarely gives Shapiro much time to develop his ideas, and in such selections as "First Sleepless Night," he is forced to switch gears quickly to accompany abruptly changing action onscreen. For the most part, acoustic guitar and piano figures carry the themes picked up by the orchestra, which is used for heart-warming swells, for example on "Dog Farm." The effect is to give a contemporary feel with traditional trappings, notably on the main theme, first introduced in "Two Year Montage" and then picked up on the concluding track, "Marley & Me."

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