A Dog's Purpose | A shaggy canine tale to tug pet owners' heartstrings

A Dog's Purpose KJ Apa Britt Robertson
(Image credit: Joe Lederer)

A Dog's Purpose KJ Apa Britt Robertson

Every dog happens for a reason.

A dog goes through a series of reincarnations and gets into assorted scrapes and perils while proving a boon companion to its various owners in A Dog's Purpose.

Based on the bestseller by W Bruce Cameron, this utterly wholesome family movie unexpectedly ran into a storm of negative publicity when celebrity news site TMZ released selectively edited footage purportedly showing a stunt dog being mistreated during filming. Amid calls from PETA for a boycott and a vigorous defence by the producers, the furore led to the cancellation of the film’s premiere yet didn’t appear to dent its strong performance at the US box office.

Putting the scandal aside, the actual movie is a fairly schmaltzy affair. But director Lasse Hallström – no stranger to canine-themed films following A Dog’s Life and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – ensures that the mix of comedy, adventure and sentiment effectively tugs pet owners’ heartstrings. As the pooch protagonist goes through its different incarnations (including Golden Retriever, German Shepherd and Corgi), Josh Gad provides a frisky voice-over, while Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson and KJ Apa supply reliable support as its human co-stars.

Certificate PG. Runtime 100 mins. Director Lasse Hallström

A Dog's Purpose available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from Entertainment One.


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.