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A Dog’s Purpose: Movie Review



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A movie about a dog dying over and over and over again? Hmmm.

That's what you might be thinking after watching the trailer for Universal Pictures' A Dog's Purpose.

Then again, you might be thinking about the controversy PETA brought to light last week regarding the treatment of a German Shepherd on the set of the film.

After a screening of the final cut, three things are clear -- the puppies are adorable, some of the jokes are quite funny, but the script lacks.

A Dog's Purpose tells the life stories of a spunky and purpose-seeking dog named Bailey, who dies and is reborn again and again as a different breed in a different time period (beginning in the 1950s).

Told from the dog's perspective, as he navigates his lives--searching for his purpose, the PG-rated movie offers moviegoers some hilarious and touching moments. It stars the vocal talent of Josh Gad (Olaf from Frozen); and Dennis Quaid makes a fairly quick appearance at the end. But, the awww-worthy cast of pups are the ones that really steal the show.

The drama gets intense for a family-friendly film. There's a house fire and shooting -- not to mention an intense scene when the dog is killed by a criminal (during his Chicago P.D. K-9 days). Two father-figure characters also bring alcohol into the picture, often times appearing drunk and abusive to the women in their lives.

A Dog's Purpose plots along at a fairly good pace. You won't likely get bored (even if you aren't a dog person). However, there are sequences in the storyline that feel forced. Without giving too much away, here are a couple of examples. One is the dog's reaction to his K-9 work (surprising given his thoughts about protecting people throughout the rest of the film). Another is the hasty resolution between two key characters. It's a satisfying end for them; it just feels rushed.

The Lasse Hallström-directed feature leans into the melodramatic, taking audiences on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Kids, who can handle the perilous reasons it's rated PG, will enjoy A Dog's Purpose. Adults who loves dogs or have kids might also like it -- though pet owners may find it difficult to watch the dog "die" that many times.

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