By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Bailey is an aging dog living with farmers Ethan and Hannah, along with their daughter in law Gloria and granddaughter CJ. Bailey observes the family drama developing as Gloria falls into depression following the death of her husband. She blames Ethan and Hannah and runs away with CJ in tow. Bailey dies shortly after and his soul is reincarnated into that of another dog, and another… and another.
Dog’s… like people, grow old and DIIIIIIIIIE
I recently reviewed the terrible thriller The Intruder and praised Dennis Quaid for his horrifying but fun performance that made that film entertaining. Quaid is a dependable actor who always puts his best into whatever role he is given. Whenever he is on screen in his film as the elder Ethan, the movie feels a bit more interesting than it would be otherwise. He owns his role as the quirky grandfather, and it is a shame that he only appears for significant time in bookended segments of the film. The rest of the cast tries, too, and mostly do a solid job selling their characters, but Quaid deserves the lion’s share of credit for the personality he shows here.
Then again, maybe he just likes hanging with the dogs…. that is admittedly a pretty awesome perk.
The premise of following a dog as it observes human drama through dog eyes is an interesting conceit that has been done before with various levels of success. Not having seen A Dog’s Purpose, the original film in this series, I cannot speak to directly. But if Josh Gadd’s narration here is any reference point, I am certain that film was also equally undercut. The decision to give the dog a voice feels like an excuse to distract from the pedestrian plot developments and character interactions that occur in the human world. It plays like a commentary track that exists to provide exposition and cheap laughs.
The Chief flaw of A Dog’s Journey is the episodic nature of its story, which strings together a series of vignettes where sentimental moments are punctuated by the kind of shorthanded drama that Hallmark Channel original films typically display. An obviously terrible teenage romantic decision turns into a violent thriller. Then it switches to a cancer drama that is treated as a quick way to resolve a complicated romantic triangle. The villain characters do not have mustaches, but if they did, they would twirl them.
Ok, so maybe not quite like this…
Gloria is the biggest issue; from one scene to another she’s treated like a truly neglectful and unloving figure. She cares more about her failed career than for her family. She does things in the film that are truly unforgivable, then in a single weepy scene you are expected to buy that she’s genuinely seeking repentance. There is no lead into this and instead you are expected to just accept this.
Allow my Bethany to complete my review. Who is a good puppy?
Arf arf arf! BOW-WOW!, WOOF! [Translation: “It’s mostly harmless, but save this film as a safe choice for Sunday afternoons with easily offended relatives”]
A Dog’s Journey (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever the dog misunderstands human behavior.
Take a Drink: for the dependable Dennis Quaid working too hard for this sort of movie…
Take a Drink: for dog bodily function humor.
Do a Shot: for each doggie death (double it for real people death)