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plenty of cute doggy screen time and butt-sniffing jokes
A Dog's Journey is my second-favorite reincarnating dog movie. This sweet, but unoriginal sequel to 2017's A Dog's Purpose is much like the first one, with plenty of cute doggy screen time and butt-sniffing jokes. One strength, compared to the original, is that it spends more time on a single canine / human relationship, rather than jumping around to lots of new people.
For a movie for dog lovers, this one sure shows a lot of dog deaths! As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old Saint Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog's spirit to watch over his granddaughter CJ throughout her life. That's exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Mollie, who helps CJ as a child, then as a terrier named Max, who helps teen and adult CJ (Kathryn Prescott)
Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed his spirit is currently inhabiting. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans, aided by Mark Isham's strings-heavy score.
This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it's based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. One character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There's also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.
The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen to you in life. And, you should surround yourself with people who care about you.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, but adults will like it too, if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog's Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.
Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot ogr.
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