Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
Bottom Line: You’ll need to survive past the first half hour. Bring tissues.
“A Dog’s Purpose” is about a dog who lives multiple lives but still retains memories of the previous life. As it goes through those lives, it tries to make sense of why it is here and what’s the meaning of it all. Since there are multiple lives, there are also multiple deaths. Animal lovers, you will cry.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to get through the first half hour of the movie before you get to a fun movie. And the first half hour is really bad. Like, really bad. Like, take every animal movie cliche and throw in every teenage romance cliche and condense it into a half hour of poorly written dialogue bad. I briefly considered leaving the theater. Thankfully (?!?!?), then the dog dies for the first time and the movie turns itself around.
The rest of the movie is cute without being saccharine. The death scenes are only slightly sanitized for the consumption of the little ones and will ring true to anyone who has ever lost a pet. The dog goes through a couple more reincarnations putting it in different circumstances before the movie brings the story full circle. The ending isn’t bad, but it’s definitely disappointing. It turns out that a dog’s purpose is to “just be there”. I can not think of a worse message to tell people. Given owners, all to often, a dog’s purpose should be “be anywhere else”.
The deciding factor on whether to see this movie will probably be whether you are an animal lover or not. If they took a poll, I bet they’d find that animal lovers like the movie and others do not. I think I can safely say that this movie is probably not nearly as good as I think it was since it used easy triggers for heartstrings pulling. Emotional manipulation for the win!