By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
You can try to fight all the sentimental, saccharine sweet emotions from the new movie “A Dog’s Journey,”
but resistance is futile. Chances are within minutes you’ll be sucked into this tearjerker tale about “Man’s Best Friend.”
Directed by Gail Mancuso (TV’s “Modern Family”), “A Dog’s Journey” is adapted from W. Bruce Cameron’s 2010 novel of the same name. It’s also the sequel to the 2017 hit movie, “A Dog’s Purpose.”
Josh Gad is back as the voice of the big, furry St. Bernard-Australian Shepherd cross, Bailey and he provides plenty of humorous and cutesy moments that keeps the film moving at a nice clip.
Bailey is enjoying the good life. The “Boss Dog” lives on a farm in Michigan with Ethan (Dennis Quaid, “The Intruder”), and his wife, Hannah (Marg Helgenberger, TV’s upcoming “All Rise.”). Helgenberger replaced Piggy Lipton who starred in the first movie. Lipton died of cancer on May 11.
Bailey, Ethan and Hannah’s good times come to an abrupt halt. Gloria (Betty Gilpin, TV’s “Glow”) --Hannah’s daughter-in-law and the mother of Clarity June/CJ played by Abby Ryder Fortson (“Ant-Man and The Wasp”) and Kathryn Prescott (TV’s “The Son”) --takes CJ away from Hannah and Ethan and moves to Chicago. Gloria hates that Ethan and Hannah were judging her too harshly about raising CJ.
But, they had good reason to. Gloria has lots of issues that stem from an insurance settlement she received after the death of her husband and Hannah’s son in a car crash that happened before CJ was born. In addition, Gloria drinks too much, often neglects CJ and makes poor choices with the men she dates.
As if that weren’t enough drama, Ethan discovers Bailey has a cancerous tumor and must euthanize his furry friend, but not before telling Bailey to watch over and protect CJ at all costs.
Break out the Kleenex for this scene. Anyone who has had to put down their dog, or any pet for that matter can relate.
The rest of “A Dog’s Journey” centers around Bailey—who dies again and again but overcomes several obstacles and is reincarnated. He becomes a spunky beagle-spaniel mix named Molly, a massive English Mastiff appropriately named Big Dog and Max, an adorable Yorkshire terrier with a mean streak.
Bailey’s goal is to find CJ. She’s no longer a kid and is all grown up now and lives in New York with hopes of pursuing a music career. Too bad she doesn’t get much support from her jerk of a boyfriend Barry (TV’s “Condor”). They really weren’t meant to be together.
But guess who is.
As fate would have it, CJ runs into her childhood best friend Trent (musician Henry Lau, TV’s “Oh My Venus”). He’s obviously doing very well from the looks of his posh hi-rise New York apartment. Spoiler Alert: Trent and CJ wind up falling in love.
If you love dogs and sappy, corny movies, then a “A Dog’s Journey” will steal your heart away.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Check Out This Trailer For "A DOG'S JOURNEY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.