Title – A Dog’s Journey (2019)
Director – Gail Mansusco (1973)
Cast – Dennis Quaid, Kathryn Prescott, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Henry Lau, (voice of) Josh Gad
Plot – Special dog Bailey (Gad) gets a new assignment from his owner Ethan (Quaid) to protect his granddaughter CJ (Prescott) across her life as she attempts to find love and break into the music scene.
“On days like this, I feel like the luckiest dog in the world”
Review by Eddie on 05/12/19
If there was ever a film that really didn’t need a sequel it would’ve been the moderately successful A Dog’s Purpose but as is often the case with Hollywood studios, here we have the not terrible but far from great follow-up, A Dog’s Journey.
Out is original director Lasse Hallstrom and in comes TV director extraordinaire Gail Mansusco to adapt prolific dog themed author W. Bruce Cameron’s tale about special doggo Bailey, who this time spends time away from Dennis Quaid’s Ethan.
As was the case with the first outing, Bailey is the films real star as he inhabits various dog bodies across multiple timelines and his energetically voiced by Josh Gad but even more so than the original film, Journey really struggles when it gets to the human aspects of its story that leaves much to be desired.
This time centering around Ethan’s step daughter CJ, played largely by a rather bland Kathryn Prescott, Journey never even comes close to engaging its audience into the people drama that goes on around Bailey, which is a shame, as all the 4 legged action is enjoyable in a completely artificial way.
The whole core concept of Cameron’s tale is totally sappy and utterly fanciful but it does do an undeniably solid job at reminding us why man’s best friend is a very special thing indeed and for anyone that counts their paw clad friends as close companions, Journey will no doubt be a joy to behold.
Much like he did with his work on Purpose and also A Dog’s Way Home, Cameron knows how to manipulate audiences into getting emotionally attached to the main stars of the show, and while you see all the emotional beats coming from a mile off, it often doesn’t stop the film from having some quietly powerful ruminations on our friendship with animals, even if Dennis Quaid does his best to derail the films latter stages with some genuinely baffling old man performance moves.
Final Say –
For its target audience, A Dog’s Journey will be more of the same winning formula that made the first film such a beloved outing but with some terrible human stories hogging the spotlight far too often, here’s hoping this series has found it’s end point before it gets any more irksome.
2 deflated football’s out of 5