“A Dog’s Journey” stars Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, and Henry Lau. Released on May 17, 2019, the film has Bailey traveling through multiple lives once again in order to protect his owner’s granddaughter.
The film is directed by Gail Mancuso, who is known for his work on television shows like “Roseanne”, “30 Rock”, and “Modern Family”. It is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron. Dogs are the source of pure happiness. They’re playful, lovable, and willing to protect their owners from any type of danger. Sure, they can cause trouble from time to time, but in the end, they will always be the most important part of our lives. This latest family film I’ll be talking about today shows that this fact is still true. This one took me a while to get to, and by that, I mean a week after it was released to the public. The reason for this delay was because my mother wanted to see it as well since she is a dog person. Now that I finally got to witness yet another canine-related experience, does it live up to its heartwarming potential despite its somewhat unsettling concept?
Serving as a direct sequel to the 2017 film, “A Dog’s Purpose”, which was another W. Bruce Cameron film adaptation, the story continues the reincarnating adventures of Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) as he tackles another purpose: taking care of his owner’s granddaughter CJ (Prescott). The film explored the different parts of CJ’s life with Josh Gad narrating the thoughts and feelings of Bailey as he experience those parts himself through the eyes of multiple different dogs. It also continued to display the central theme that was introduced in “A Dog’s Purpose”, which was the importance of having dogs in our lives. I was pleased with “A Dog’s Purpose” because of its heartwarming moments and it was the type of film that convinces parents to talk to their kids about its concept, so I was hoping that this film will make me feel the same way. Thankfully, it did just that. While it had the same issues as its predecessor, such as its strong case of sappiness, the film’s charm level was high enough to have dog lovers digging for their tissues. There were a few moments that may leave younger viewers feeling a bit uncomfortable as well as some scenes that weren’t strong enough to impress people outside of its target audience in terms of the film’s emotional depth. However, it did its part in displaying plenty of feel-good moments that were able to overshadow its troublesome flaws. The biggest highlight of the film was none other than Josh Gad, who did wonders in carrying the film forward as the voice of Bailey. He offered a near perfect balance between humor and drama that managed to put a big smile on my face. The other actors were also decent in their roles, such as Dennis Quaid as Ethan and Kathryn Prescott as CJ. As for its flaws, I already mentioned that the film’s emotional depth was a hit and miss for me. It got me to smile, which was a nice plus when it comes to films like this, but it wasn’t enough to make me shed a tear. I also felt that the film had some pacing issues during a few scenes, which can be a nuisance for younger kids who wanted fast-paced action.
Overall, “A Dog’s Journey” is as charming and sentimental as its predecessor largely due to Josh Gad’s vocal performance and its heartwarming story. While it won’t gain any awards recognition, the film has done plenty to win the hearts of its target audience, just like any dog would. If you’re the type of person who loves dogs or if you’re someone who’s into feel-good movies, this film is worth checking out.