Overview: A faithful wife makes the terrible discovery that her loving husband of 25 years is secretly a well-known serial killer who’s been brutally torturing and murdering women for years. 2014. Reno Productions. Rated R. 103 minutes.
Stephen King’s Uniquely Nontransferable Voice: I have this ongoing theory that Stephen King’s is a voice that only works on paper. In King’s world of the written word, it’s perfectly all right for a woman to snap, “You dirty sneak!” at her murderous and psychopathic husband. Because of King’s masterful, subtle, mentally-charged characterization, these lines are fine, and we can roll with them. But in the film world, everything isn’t up to King. We aren’t completely immersed in his rules, and we don’t get in these characters’ weirdo heads like we would in his novels. In the film world, “You dirty sneak!” is a cringe-worthy and nearly embarrassing line. That’s A Good Marriage summed up: cringe-worthy and nearly embarrassing.
The Script: What makes A Good Marriage so terrible isn’t the acting (though none of the performances are really worth talking about) or the directing (though this is also pretty freakin’ rough). No, what makes this film the true piece of crap that it is, shockingly, is the writing. The script, which was penned by King himself, is one of the most awkward screenplays I’ve ever seen on screen. The dialogue is clunky and unnatural — Again, I think part of this has to do with King’s voice being one that just doesn’t translate to film well. — And the result is a wooden, unnatural, downright boring film that’s filled with stilted dialogue and looks as if it were made for television rather than the big screen.
Once again, Stephen King, a truly wonderful novelist, proves that just because you can write amazing novels doesn’t mean you can write a solid screenplay. I’ve said it before and, unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll say it again. These two crafts are very, very different. Being good at one does not guarantee that you’ll be good at the other.
I Promise I Really Do Love Stephen King: You might not be able to guess this based on this review alone, but Stephen King is actually my favorite writer. There isn’t even a contest. The Stand is my favorite book ever, tied only with The Long Walk. I absolutely adore King’s work. And because of that adoration, I know that he is so much better than this underwhelming film. Instead of spending money on A Good Marriage, go to your nearest book store and buy the first Stephen King book you can find. Just picked one. It doesn’t matter which you choose. Even King’s worst novel is 1,000 times better than the garbage that is A Good Marriage.
Honestly, this film doesn’t even deserve the D- rating that I’m granting it, but the knowledge that King’s original short story was very good saves this film from failing completely. That’s probably cheating, but hey, this is my review and I make the rules. I’ll continue to watch and support everything King does, but god, I sure hope he doesn’t do something like this again.