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