Stephen King’s A Good Marriage (2014)

a good marriage poster1 201x300 - Stephen King's A Good Marriage (2014)Starring Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang, Kristen Connolly, Theo Stockman

Directed by Peter Askin

Stephen King’s A Good Marriage is the first feature film screenplay King has adapted from one of his works in 25 years (the last one being Pet Sematary back in 1989) and only the fourth one overall (the other two were Cat’s Eye and Silver Bullet in the 80s).

So, why’d he choose this one after all these years? Having seen it, I’m not sure. It’s a good story, but not a great one.

I haven’t read the novella (which was included in King’s 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars), but I can imagine more interesting stories he could have written from – why not 11/22/63? That’s a tale he really could have done cinematic justice to.

Stephen King’s A Good Marriage is really routine. Not that there’s anything wrong with tried and true drama – and this subject is ever a source of interest and speculation: What would you do if you found out your spouse is a serial killer?

Longtime marrieds Darcy (Allen) and Bob (LaPaglia) are celebrating the wedding of their daughter, and everything seems so wonderful and sparkly. They are still in love after all these years, have a fabulous family, live in an idyllic house nestled into a nice neighborhood, and everything’s just hunky-dory. That is, until Bob goes on one of his frequent business trips and Darcy stumbles upon his cache of trophies: I.D.s and jewelry belonging to several recently missing women.

What to do? Turn him in? Turn a blind eye? Maybe to circumvent the grief, embarrassment, and cost of a murder trial, she should just kill him.

And so begins the game of cat and mouse. Who’s who swaps and spins on its axis throughout, and that’s fun to see, but overall the film feels stale. Worse, I didn’t buy Allen and LaPaglia as a couple. That’s the lynchpin of the whole story: devotion vs. duty, love and loyalty vs. evil and ethics. It’s quite a conundrum to be sure, and while the actors themselves are good in their roles, they simply do not have chemistry.

The movie’s worth a watch, but just one. Regardless, King’s fans will flock — and that’s a good thing for A Good Marriage. In theaters and available on VOD on October 3, 2014.

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