The new film A Dog’s Purpose based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron tells the story of a doggy soul that inhabits a variety of dog breeds over time interacting with different owners during their lifetime. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to see our canine companions cross over the Rainbow Bridge on film, A Dog’s Purpose may not be for you. The movie could have easily been called The Dog Dies as death is pretty prominent in the film as father time catches up with our furry focal character, but never fear. The movie is fake and the dogs aren’t really dying. Plus, A Dog’s Purpose uses reincarnation as a creative tool so our sweet dog’s personality jumps to the next body once his old one fails him and it all starts over again. From there we get to see the pooch (who often refers to himself or herself as Bailey) accompany a few contrasting owners with distinct ideas as to what it means to own a dog.
It’s not all doom and gloom in A Dog’s Purpose. A few tears may get shed, but there’s also plenty of cute smiles to go around with wagging tails and dog head turns that will elicit a few “Aweeeee” moments during the film. Josh Gad does an excellent job as the voice of the dog and is basically our narrator over the lifetimes we witness. Gad is funny, sweet and honest as the dog who gets to come back over and over again. There’s an innocence to Gad’s voice performance as new things are introduced to him and certain actions take place that confuse the dog as to what is happening in the family’s life. The human characters include K.J. Apa, John Ortiz in a heartbreaking role and the always reliable and underrated Dennis Quad who do a fine job playing the masters, but make no mistake. Josh Gad is the one who brings the film to life with Bailey’s opinions, questions and views.
There’s no doubt A Dog’s Purpose is very relatable subject matter that intentionally tugs at the heartstrings of the viewer. We are a dog society and many people will see their own experiences with their fur babies and the time you spent with them being played out on-screen. The film definitely seems like it could be a Hallmark Hall of Fame made for TV movie with its mix of sweet, sad and corny themes. Quite frankly the film is so full of sap that you can’t help, but get stuck in it. Besides all the death, there are other times where the content is quite dark in A Dog’s Purpose with some of the owners not being as loving as past packs Bailey was a part of. A Dog’s Purpose may be too sad of a watch for some (especially for dog lovers), but it also shows how much an important role dogs play in certain people’s lives.
Overall, I give A Dog’s Purpose 2.5 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell