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Film Review—Is ‘A Dog’s Journey’ Worth Taking?

Posted Friday, May 17, 2019 - 12:08 pm

By Adam Sherman

January 2017 saw the release of of A Dog’s Purpose, based on the book by – and with the script itself co-written by – W. Bruce Cameron.

My initial review was posted in the midst of the controversy over what appeared to be footage of one of the dogs being nearly drowned. I left the review unscored, as I felt that any real-life harm that befell any of the cast and crew onset overrode the film’s potential artistic merits, and told the audience to judge for themselves. However, nothing really came of the controversy, and the film went on to gross $205 million worldwide.

As such, a sequel was not unexpected. However, as the original Purpose seemed rather self-contained by the end, is it really necessary to go on A Dog’s Journey?

Not really, but it is kind of fun.

The film takes place, a few years after the end of Purpose, Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) finds himself tasked by his “boy” Ethan (Dennis Quaid) to look after his granddaughter CJ. Shenanigans and reincarnations ensue as Bailey tried to keep up with CJ’s life.

Its not exactly the most complex story, and in many ways, the beats of this film echo the beats of its predecessor. The performances are nice enough – Kathryn Prescott in particular is a stand-out – and the film doesn’t outstay its welcome. However, there’s not really enough about the film to call worth seeing over something more ambitious like Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.

Still, if you want something akin to cinematic comfort food, especially in-between events like Avengers: Endgame and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, you could do worse.

6 out of 10

A Dog’s Journey is distributed by Universal Pictures and opened in theaters Thursday, May 16.

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