FILM A DOG’S PURPOSE ?????(PG) General release (100 minutes)???
Josh Gad’s acting mannerisms drive me up the wall, but I can’t deny he was well cast as a cringing comic henchman in the recent live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.
He’s equally in his element as the first-person narrator of Lasse Hallstrom’s??? A Dog’s Purpose, pondering the mysteries of existence in husky, ingratiating tones which advertise that he poses no threat.
Based on a bestseller by the humorist W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose concerns either one dog or a whole troupe of them, depending how you look at it.
For most of the first half of the film, the narrator is Bailey, a beloved golden retriever owned by a family in rural Michigan in the 1960s.
When Bailey passes on, he’s reincarnated as a Chicago police dog, then as a corgi in Atlanta.
Along the way, he switches from male to female and back again – but none of this affects his naive, enthusiastic personality, or his ability to provide comfort and companionship to his various owners.
In later adventures, the dog longs to be reunited with one owner in particular: Ethan, a clean-cut Michigan boy played as a child by Bryce Gheisar???, as a teenage jock by K.J. Apa, and as an older man by Dennis Quaid.
Not even death, it seems, can destroy this bond, though it’s not clear why Ethan should be given priority over subsequent owners such as the equally loving Maya (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), unless this simply reflects the deference due to a middle-class white man.
The chauvinism here surely isn’t conscious, but it’s part and parcel of the film’s commitment to affirming homespun values rather than taking advantage of the satirical potential of a panorama of American life viewed through a dog’s innocent eyes.
Despite the involvement of talented screenwriters such as Maya Forbes (Infinitely Polar Bear), this remains a textbook example of what the website Snopes南京夜网 refers to as “glurge” – the kind of gooey uplift associated with the novels of Nicholas Sparks and their film adaptations (such as Hallstrom’s own Safe Haven), and with so-called “faith-based cinema”.
In this instance, the tone is religiose, but in a carefully non-specific way.
Evidently the notion of reincarnation is not meant to be taken literally; rather, it’s a device that allows Hallstrom to reassure us that life goes on, even as he tugs on our heartstrings with a series of doggy death scenes.
Between this and The Zookeeper’s Wife, animal lovers are doing it tough at the movies at the moment.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.