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film review

Dennis Quaid stars in Gail Mancuso's A Dog's Journey.Universal Pictures

  • A Dog’s Journey
  • Directed by Gail Mancuso
  • Written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky
  • Starring Kathryn Prescott, Dennis Quaid and Marg Helgenberger
  • Classification PG
  • 109 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

With A Dog’s Journey, a frightfully sentimental drama about pooch-based rebirth – reincanation? – we see repeated scenes of a dog’s sweet, transitional afterlife. Endless sunset fields of wheat to run in, mostly. One’s eyes strain to see glimpses of Lassie, Cujo and Old Yeller up there, but to no avail.

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A Dog’s Journey, while a satisfying enough sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, is not destined to live on as a classic in wet-nose cinema. The basics involve Clarity June (or C.J.) – a girl with a dog, a doting pair of farmer grandparents and an alcoholic single mother. As she grows older, a series of dogs – different forms of the same tail-wagger’s soul (voiced by Josh Gad) – look after a girl who grows up to be a singer-songwriter with stage fright.

In one of its lives, the dog is trained to detect cancer on smell alone – a biscuit for you if you sniff out the foreshadowing. Heartstrings are pulled like a puppy’s leash; nothing much unpredictable happens.

A Dog’s Journey ends in bittersweet fashion, but with the suspicion that this franchise will live on.

A Dog’s Journey opens May 17.