A Dogs Purpose has zero purpose

A DOG'S PURPOSE (Lasse Hallstrom). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (January 27). See listing. Rating: NA Dogs Purpose went from being.


A DOG’S PURPOSE (Lasse Hallstrom). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (January 27). See listing. Rating: N

A Dogs Purpose went from being the kind of preening, maudlin movie most would have ignored to a movie many plan on boycotting. Apathy has been rebranded as political action. TMZ released a video from the Manitoba set that shows a frightened German shepherd struggling against a trainer to stay out of a tank with churning water. The clip is the cause for commotion and debate on whether live animals should be used to manipulate our sentiments.

Also worth noting is that the scene, where the canine saves a drowning girl, is perhaps the most implausible, dispensable and costly moment in a movie that is usually just moderately implausible and dispensable. During that sequence, a dog once named Bailey is living out a reincarnated life as a female K-9 officer who goes above and beyond in the line of duty.

Baileys life on the police force is a brief placeholder, along with his pleasant stint as an overfed Corgi. Both sections are meant to quickly work the tear ducts and count the decades before the dog reunites with his most precious owner Ethan, who we first meet as a loving child (Bryce Gheisar) in the Kennedy-era and then a lonely, present-day adult played by Dennis Quaid.

Oh, and Bailey narrates this spiritual journey in Look Whos Talking fashion, with Josh Gad providing the vocal chords to the dogs cute thoughts and metaphysical questions, all as he watches various humans deal with their own poorly scripted dramas.

Bailey opens the film asking about the meaning of life, the animals inner dialogue and some golden lights trying to juice all the emotions from a less cynical audience every time he dies.

The purpose of a movie like this may be the side-by-side comparison between the idyllic treatment for a dog in Ethans hands and the crueller passages involving neglectful owners and dog-catchers.

After that TMZ video, the message has been muddied.

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