Ugly Crying – A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

It’s all sniffles.  So it turns out that the animated feature was wrong, because when dogs die, they don’t go to heaven, they actually get reincarnated.  This is about one dog over several lifetimes, trying to understand what he is on this Earth to do.  I love dogs, and I have always had a giant soft spot for our canine friends (I still don’t know what man ever did to deserve dogs).  They bring joy into our lives, so of course this movie was on my radar.  This isn’t a movie that is going to live throughout the ages, but for what it is, I do think it is surprisingly effective.

2Effective in making you uncontrollably weep, that is.

Now this film had an unfortunate backlash against it when footage surfaced of the German Shepard being coaxed into the water when she clearly didn’t want to go for a swim.  This is TMZ footage (like it usually is), and it was shut down pretty quickly when it was realized that the dog wanted out.  It’s not enough for me to write off the movie, and that is me speaking as an animal lover (I even think the footage may have been edited to make it look worse than it actually was).  This movie is basic.  It is simple as can be, and it is stereotypically wholesome.  There’s nothing really special about it.  But it does have an intangible quality about it that makes you feel positive.  I don’t know if you have pets, but if you’re like me, sometimes you talk not TO your pet, but FOR your pet, and you end up developing their own distinct voice and personality.  Well, imagine that happening for every major life event for your dog.  The voice of all these dogs is Josh Gad, and I think he does a very good job.  I would say ratio wise, whenever he talked, I cried more often than not.

1And he has more than just a couple of lines, so…

I thought Megan Leavey left me an emotional wreck, and while I do think that that movie is a better made film, A Dog’s Purpose quite honestly made me cry more.  It ends up playing like a series of vignettes, and it keeps it moving along at a good clip because it is broken into segments.  It also doesn’t hurt that all of these dogs are as cute as can be, and you get to see every single one of them as puppies.  A Dog’s Purpose is very, very cute, and it’s worth a watch if you are a dog lover.

A Dog’s Purpose (2017) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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