Pretty much the only thing this film didn't screw up or squander is Will Smith's relationship with his dog Samantha. A present from his daughter pre-apocalypse, the canine serves as a surrogate daughter post-apocalypse. Smith bathes her, tells her to eat her vegetables, and sleeps cuddled up with the dog. This was cinema-speak for "The dog is going to die," yet many of us were still surprised when it happened.
Surprise or not, to see Will Smith fail to cure his dog/daughter after she was bitten, then hold her, sing to her, and choke her to death was heartbreaking. Say what you will about the special effects, plot, ending, cinematic skill and everything else involved with this movie...
Go ahead, I'll wait.
Okay, but Will is a capable actor. And he acted up a storm making us mourn for this dog.
This film had a very odd marketing campaign. Based off the trailers, I pegged it as a light-hearted comedy where Owen Wilson and wife get a dog by accident and hijinks ensue. I mean, sure that happens, but if you hadn't read the book you would have no idea that it was a comedy-drama. You also would have no preparation for a film about miscarriages, post-partum depression, and canine euthanasia.
You heard me.
I was not going to see this film because I didn't want to see a poorly-behaved dog movie. I saw two Beethoven movies, so I'm good on those. Once I found out that the dog (very unlike Beethoven) is put to sleep at the end, it wasn't really a selling point. I came around to seeing it, and it is good, but light-hearted comedy it is NOT.