Arts & Leisure

“Dog’s Purpose” barks up wrong tree

BRITT ROBERTSON, T.J. Aja and "Baily" in "A Dog's Purpose in Life."

BRITT ROBERTSON, T.J. Apa and “Bailey” in “A Dog’s Purpose in Life.”

By Jim Tortolano

Much has been made of the leaked video of a dog in distress shot during the making of “A Dog’s Purpose in Life.” That clip is probably going to cost the studio – Amblin Entertainment – millions of dollars, but there are other reasons on give “Purpose” a pass.

LogoforMovieReviewSimply-said, except for the basic concept, there’s not very much remarkable or interesting about this movie. Based sort of loosely on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron, “Purpose” is the story of a dog-soul, which is reincarnated over and over. It’s an interesting premise, but the execution has too much Hollywood and not enough originality.

About half the film is about Bailey as a red retriever, growing up with Ethan from childhood and on through adolescence. K.J. Apa does a creditable job as the likable teen version of Ethan, but the story becomes too predictable. He becomes a football star in high school, finds a spunky girl (Britt Richardson) and then … well … there are few surprises.

fairmovielogoThe movie relies too much on slapstick and tear-jerking. It raises philosophical questions and treats them clunkily. Dennis Quaid and Peggy Lipton bring some gravitas at the end of the movie, but by now you are wishing that the screenwriters were as smart as your dog is.

“A Dog’s Purpose” is rated PG for some language, alcohol use and bathroom humor.

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