Film Review – A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Title – A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Director – Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape)

Cast – K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, John Ortiz, Peggy Lipton, (voice of) Josh Gad

Plot – A dog (voiced by Gad) gets reincarnated into various canine forms with a collection of owners who all begin to teach him about what it truly means to be a dog and be at peace with his purpose in life.

“With each new life I was learning a new lesson”

Review by Eddie on 8/08/2017

You should already know if you’ll be a fan of A Dog’s Purpose.

If you love the idea of loveable canines and 4 legged friends being cute, cuddly and adventurous, then Lasse (Lassie?) Hallström’s big screen adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron’s book will surely be one of your favourites of the calendar year.

For the rest of us that don’t particularly feel the need to pat every dog that waltzes past our way or search the internet for our next dose of cuteness overload or doggy related meme, A Dogs Purpose will never come to hit the high notes others may feel it does, despite it being a sporadically entertaining and a sometimes emotionally engaging dramedy.

In many ways its surprising A Dogs Purpose works in any way shape or form, as its central concept of a Josh Gad voiced dog being reincarnated over and over into different lives, discovering what it truly means to be a dog is all types of ridiculous but being the experienced old hat that he is Hallström (the man who gave us the beloved dog tale Hachi) makes the corny material work on more than one occasion, almost making you feel bad for enjoying such a manipulative and over the top story.

What lets the film down majorly is the film’s ability to find likeable human characters to make us care for and it’s here that Hallström and his team of recognisable actors such as Britt Robertson and Dennis Quad can’t find a win.

As our doggy centrepiece Bailey goes through various lives, owners and life changing experiences we quickly come to realise that no amount of cute dog shots or comedic situations can account for such a bland and forgettable bunch of human characters, who end up meaning very little to the audience who will get their main emotional feels directly from Gad and his various canine incarnations.

The closest A Dogs Purpose gets to mixing the two together is in its opening 30 minutes as Bailey and his young human friend Ethan create a bond together but once a so-so romance subplot gets thrown into the story’s later stages, you can feel the film sinking into an increasingly substandard groove.

Final Say –

Silly stuff indeed, A Dogs Purpose isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination but there’s certainly some memorable doggy centred wins for Hallström’s film that includes a few teary eyed moments that are found amongst all the other segments of bland and misguided human interactions.

For dog lovers, this film will be a real treat, while for the rest of us, we surely have other films to dig up for our viewing pleasure.

2 hotdog stands out of 5  

13 responses to “Film Review – A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

  1. I watched this movie knowing exactly what I was getting into and I enjoyed it overall. Despite the manipulative moments it was a least entertaining. That said I would never watch it again.

    • There were some very entertaining scenes in the film but I thought the story that held it all together as well as the fairly lame humans really ruined this ones chances of being a lot better.

  2. My daughter asked me “is this one of those movies where the dog dies” and I responded “I think it’s one of those movies where the dog dies five or six times.” So she decided she might not want to see it.

  3. Well, I disagree with most of the review. Yes, I am a dog lover, but not one of those crazy, over the top ones.

    I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this movie, because I thought it would focus on all sorts of deaths (like the other dog centered hit stories), which would just make for an upsetting film. To my surprise, I found the “transitions” (deaths) quite gentle. My focus was not on the dying parts of the movie, but the living ones, instead.

    There was no need for a mayor group of characters in the movie, the dog was a great focus. He had the lead role, and I loved seeing the world through his eyes.

    Dogs are exceptionally smart and loyal companions, and it was fun/ entertaining to see the “same” dog being thrown into different situations and different owners.

    The ending was quite beautiful, when after years and years of Ethan (I rely on your memory, not mine for the name) having a completely miserable life (and the dog longing to be Bailey again), he gets to see his beloved childhood dog, who in turns reunites him with his long lost high-school sweetheart.

    It wasn’t the best movie I have ever seen, but it was definitely one that I have enjoyed!

  4. Pingback: Film Review – A Dog’s Journey (2019) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  5. Pingback: Film Review – The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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