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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Overwrought, underwhelming: Rashid Irani reviews A Dog’s Journey

A faithful pet is reincarnated over and over so he can watch over his original owner’s grandchild. Not the most compelling tale, not compellingly told.

movie-reviews Updated: May 16, 2019 14:35 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Eventually, the pup even helps the girl choose a suitable life partner. Silly subplots and melodramatic flourishes let the film down. The puppies are adorable throughout, though.
Eventually, the pup even helps the girl choose a suitable life partner. Silly subplots and melodramatic flourishes let the film down. The puppies are adorable throughout, though.
         
A DOG’S JOURNEY
  • Direction: Gail Mancuso
  • Actors: Kathryn Prescott, Josh Gad (voice)
  • Rating: 2 / 5

Not to be confused with A Dog’s Way Home, which was released here earlier this month, this similar-sounding emotionally manipulative canine-centered adventure is actually a sequel to the 2017 tearjerker, A Dog’s Purpose. Interestingly, all three films are derived from novels by W Bruce Cameron.

Expanding upon the original’s theme of canine reincarnation, incoming director Gail Mancuso ensures that the ‘boss dog’ protagonist, a golden retriever named Bailey, fulfils his promise to protect his owner’s granddaughter throughout her life.

In order to do so, he is reborn several times, each time as a new breed (once a beagle/spaniel mix, once a Corgi etc), all of whose thoughts are vocalised by Josh Gad. The loyal pet even helps the eventually teenaged girl (Kathryn Prescott) choose a suitable life companion.

The tale comes full circle in a predictably contrived subplot involving a cancer-stricken childhood friend, and the whole thing is silly rather than stirring. Melodramatic flourishes such as a fraught mother-daughter relationship drag the flagging momentum down further.

While the human actors, among them Dennis Quaid, are adequate, the real stars of the show are, paws-down, the cherishable pooches. It’s still not enough to rescue the film, but three woofs to them! 

First Published: May 16, 2019 14:35 IST

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