The Reel Review
This sequel to A Dog’s Purpose is the continuing story of Bailey, the dog who had been repeatedly reincarnated over several years before ending back up with his prior owner, Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and his wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger). When an aging Bailey dies in Ethan’s arms, he resumes his reincarnation spin cycle, this time following Ethan’s request to look after their estranged granddaughter, CJ, and bring her back to them.
The dialogue is astoundingly corny (even for this type of movie) and the contrived plot is about as predictable as you can imagine, despite solid performances from the very likable Quaid, Helgenberger and Kathryn Prescott (Skins) as the perpetually imperiled adult CJ. (CJ is seriously bad at choosing boyfriends.) And like its predecessor, the plot takes some odd, not-so-kid-friendly, disturbingly dark turns that don’t really seem necessary to the plot.
But if you can endure the sadness of doggie deaths along with the unpleasantness of neglectful parenting, stalking and homelessness, you will receive a big payoff in the finale – a beautifully sweet, gut punch that will leave you ugly crying – while being reminded that the purpose of our dogs (and really all pets) is to give us that unconditional love we all need.
• Peggy Lipton, who played the role of Hannah in A Dog’s Purpose, died five days before the premiere of A Dog’s Journey.
• A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey are based on the 2010 and 2012 novels by Bruce Cameron
• Josh Gad has now been the voice of nine dogs in these two films. Yikes!