A Dog’s Purpose    review by Bobby Blakey

There are always movies that come along that feel like something you will want to see and then some controversy strikes and the screams to boycott the movie begin. Sadly the latest to get hit with this is A Dog’s Purpose starring Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, K.J. Apa, Pooch Hall, John Ortiz and Josh Gad offering up his voice for the dog. After the outrage plagued promotions it was revealed that it was all incorrect information, but the damage had already been done. Could this movie still offer up the fun and tears that the trailer promised or does it not have enough bite to fend off the barking?

A Dog’s Purpose follows a dog who looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. Director Lasse Hallstrom has offered up some great films in his career including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat and The Hundred-Foot Journey and with A Dog’s Purpose he adds yet another good movie, but not quite as effective as it could have been. This is a movie that you know right away from the trailer that is going to tug at your heart strings while offering up some light hearted fun. It doesn’t all of those things and while I really enjoyed the film as a whole I found it too fractured to fully invest throughout. I love the premise of this film and as a dog lover I connected seeing aspects of my own dog in the story, but the uneven storytelling of the various incarnations is where it lost me a bit.

The idea and execution was necessary to tell this story, but might have worked a lot better had they either shortened the main story or made the others a bit longer in some way. The initial main story is great and really gets you invested in both the human characters along with the dog. Once this story ends the next couple of tales are interesting, but felt so rushed it was hard to really care for me. The only reason I felt any connection to these stories at all is due to it being the reincarnation of the same dog. This is likely how they figured it would work and for most it will, I just wanted more from them. This is really a small issue in the bigger piece as it offers so much from the dog’s perspective along with the great voiceover work from Josh Gad that you can’t help but still connect with the dog itself throughout.

My biggest issues with this film overall is with the promotions. It gives away a major section of the film that as a viewer you would have easily figured out on your own, but would have been nice to see it unfold on the big screen as opposed to it being spoon fed to us in the trailers. This is far from a perfect film, but does its job to tug at the heartstrings of animal lovers and offers up a feel good story at the same time, even if it feels forced at times. If you are a dog or animal lover in general then get out there and see if for yourself, but bring your tissues because you just might need them.

In addition to the film this release also includes bonus outtakes, deleted scenes and featurettes taking you behind the film. Join one dog's journey through all walks of life when A Dog's Purpose comes to Blu-ray and DVD on May 2nd from Universal Home Entertainment. 

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