Before we get started, you should know that this film is a sequel. A Dog’s Purpose was originally a book that was adapted for the screen in 2017. That is something I did not realize and the first 15/20 minutes were a bit confusing. There are three parties involved here: little CJ (played by Emma Volk, then Abby Ryder Fortson, then Kathryn Prescott), CJ’s mom Gloria (Betty Gilpin), and then the grandparents. After watching the film you can gather that CJ’s dad has passed and I believe he was related to at least one of the grandparents (Dennis Quad and Marg Helgenberg). However, it is not clear if CJ’s dad was both of their child, only one of their child, or even if he was an only child. I assume that if someone watches the first movie, that is explained. Other than not totally understanding the relationship here, the rest of the movie stood on it’s own and you would not need to watch the first to enjoy the second.
As the first dog talking real life film I have seen since Homeward Bound, the talking dog took some adjustment. Not sure if it got better as the film went on or if I acclimated. Also, not sure it’s fair to compare any movie to the high bar set by Homeward Bound.
The film centers around canine Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) who dies multiple times (not a spoiler alert, you can see this is in the trailer below). Bailey’s purpose is to take care of CJ and the film follows the journey that takes Bailey on through each reincarnation. An initial thought is that it would have been nice to see more of Dennis Quad, but I suppose that is what the first movie is for. Also, Gloria is a one dimensional character of the world’s most self absorbed mom. Thankfully, all versions of CJ through the years are very enjoyable to watch and have a great story line.
Moviegoer Greg had some pretty big thoughts, “there was a lot of death! I guess it could be good to take a kid to, if you’re teaching them about death.” Please note, Greg does not have any children so follow that advice at your own risk.
It is a cute movie with an age old tale about dogs and their owners being best friends. While not inventive, it still withdraws some chuckles and tears from the audience.
Movie times: click here
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Run Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Director: Gail Mancuso
Actors: Josh Gad (voice), Dennis Quaid, Kathryn Prescott
Rating: PG for thematic content, some peril and rude humor