The easiest route a story can take is the old “what does it all mean” path. So many people go through life always wondering why are we here, and what does it mean. Let’s face it, life as a human can be pretty complicated with all of those questions that float around our heads. Then you look at the things around you and come across an animal, and think to yourself “I bet it’s nice being a dog, they have it so easy.” What if though, they were also struggling with finding their meaning?
“A Dog’s Purpose” explores just that thought, kind of like “Look Who’s Talking” but with a dog (Even though they did that by the third one, let’s just remember the first two). The story starts off with a dog being brought into the world, and the voice of Josh Gad to tell us what’s going on in this dog’s head. What we hear is his questioning what he is here for, with his only other thought being, to play. After something happens he finds himself in another dog, this one having fate bring him into a little boy’s life. That little boy is named Ethan and he names his new friend Bailey. Like any boy and his dog the two become inseparable and the two of them grow up together. Ethan and Bailey go through the good times and the bad, but are always there for each other. Bailey though is still searching for his purpose, and it takes more than one story for him to finally find it. Understanding this familiar tale, you can expect some tears, especially if you are a dog owner.
What “A Dog’s Purpose” does well is make you want to give the dog you own some serious attention when you get home. The story, which is written by Cathryn Michon and W. Bruce Cameron, off the latters novel, is told in parts. The second story with Ethan is the one that really pulls at your heartstrings because it’s where you spend the most time with the characters. The other stories feel like strangers compared to Ethan and Bailey’s, and there is a reason to that. Even though you can get swept up in your emotions, it also ties everything up in a nice little bow. Sure there is some adversity, but in the end everything comes together a little too easy. Had the film kept the energy and emotions from the first part, this would have been a different film. Instead the high point is early on, with the rest going down hill from there. Sure there are some smiles along the way, cute puppies will do that for you, but like getting a puppy, the cuteness can wear off fast, especially if they like to chew on things.
While Bailey might take the whole movie to find his purpose, you find the films rather quickly. In the end “A Dog’s Purpose” will make you laugh and cry, but also make you look at your watch for the last hour, and make you want spend time at home with your own best friend.