Movie review / ‘A Dog’s Journey’ (PG)

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“A Dog’s Journey”

“A Dog’s Journey” (PG) *

LAST February I gave three stars to “A Dog’s Way Home”.

“A Dog’s Journey” is director Gail Mancuso’s first feature film after spending 27 years making 109 TV series episodes and telemovies which might say something to cynics sensing that TV may have wired what her brain is telling her about how the world works.

W. Bruce Cameron wrote the screenplay for both films, (adapting his own novels).

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about dogs narrating stories. Dogs have their own points of view. Bruce Cameron clearly perceives them as good guys. If you want to see a movie in which a very big good dog proves his merit by taking on a bad human guy, go see “Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood”. Some dogs aren’t good guys, but nobody’s going to make a feature movie about one of those.

In Canada-made “A Dog’s Journey”, on a farm in a mid-western State, young widow Gloria (Betty Gilpin) with a toddler daughter CJ, is at odds with her parents Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) with Buster, a large dog of mixed parentage, who is loved by and who loves them.

Lurking in the background is the payout from the life policy on Gloria’s late husband. Ethan and Hannah say it’s for CJ’s education when she grows up. By the time of Gloria’s departure, Buster has died and been re-incarnated with another dog who is devoted to CJ. Three young women play CJ during the film’s 110 minutes, which turns out to be CJ’s story narrated by a series of dogs. Happy ever after. Life goes on, vicissitudes and all. It’s nature’s way.

Canine reinacarnation? Why not? But not without a healthy dose of willingness to suspend disbelief, of a kind that its predecessor didn’t need.

At all cinemas

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"A Dog’s Journey"
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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