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Film Reviews The overly sentimental A Dog’s Journey imagines pooch-based rebirth – or ‘reincanation’

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

rating

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.

Your long weekend movie guide: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin', while A Dog’s Journey pulls at the heartstrings

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.

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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.

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