A Dog's Journey (film)
|A Dog's Journey|
|Directed by||Gail Mancuso|
|Produced by||Gavin Polone|
|Based on||A Dog's Journey|
by W. Bruce Cameron
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Edited by||Robert Komatsu|
|Box office||$75.8 million|
A Dog's Journey is a 2019 American family comedy-drama film directed by Gail Mancuso in her feature film directorial debut and written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Maya Forbes, and Wally Wolodarsky. The film is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Cameron and is the sequel to the 2017 film A Dog's Purpose. The film stars Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, and Henry Lau.
Bailey, an old St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd, lives happily with his owner Ethan, the latter’s wife Hannah, their 2-year-old granddaughter CJ and her mother Gloria. He is very fond of CJ. Gloria is inattentive, hates dogs, has a strained relationship with her late husband Henry's parents and an ambition to be a singer. Gloria's suspicious nature leads her to move out with CJ.
Ethan discovers a tumor in Bailey's stomach, later he holds Bailey lovingly, asking him to take care of CJ before he is euthanized. Bailey is then shown running through a grassy field towards CJ.
Nine years later, Bailey, reincarnated as a beagle named Molly, sees a now 11-year-old CJ with her best friend Trent and his parents, who are adopting the former’s favorite brother Rocky. Remembering the promise she made to Ethan in her previous life, Molly runs outside to CJ. Living in the suburbs with Gloria, she takes Molly home, hiding her. Gloria eventually discovers this and scolds CJ for getting a dog, but reluctantly allows her to keep Molly after CJ persuades her, as she feels neglected and lonely.
CJ and Molly grow increasingly close over the years, along with Trent and Rocky. Now a teenager, CJ tells Trent she wants to drop out of high school and move to New York City with her deceased father Henry's insurance settlement to become a musician.
CJ begins to date Shane, who Molly distrusts and tries to protect her from. Attending a party which gets busted by police for underage drinking, CJ is sentenced to community service where Molly learns how to detect cancer. Her grandparents try to pay her and Gloria a visit, bringing a box of Henry's belongings, but still angry, Gloria closes the door on them. But Molly and Ethan recognize each other and he reminds her of the promise to protect CJ.
Shane assaults CJ, prompting Molly to bite him. Gloria responds nonchalantly to this, also revealing she spent all of Henry's settlement money (meant for CJ), prompting CJ to leave town with Molly. On the way out, they are stalked and tail-ended by Shane, which causes CJ’s car to flip, killing Molly. Shane flees the scene in a panic to avoid his arrest. Molly is then shown running through the same grassy field that Bailey had run through when he died.
Molly is reincarnated as an English Mastiff named Big Dog, who is a guard dog with a new owner, Joe, at a gas station/convenience store. Although enjoying his new life, he misses CJ. One day, CJ, now an adult, visits the store, and Big Dog engages with her. After she leaves, he continues to miss her for the rest of his life, and eventually dies of old age. He is then shown running through the grassy field again.
Big Dog is reincarnated as a Yorkshire Terrier named Max, who is at an adoption event in New York. Avoiding adoption until he finds CJ, he sees and chases her into her building. Although reluctant at first, she adopts Max so he doesn't get put down. Living with her boyfriend, working as a dog walker while still an aspiring musician, she hasn't overcome her stage fright.
While returning a dog to a client, Max recognizes the familiar scent of Trent and ends up at his newly rented apartment, where Trent lives with his girlfriend but without Rocky, who has since died. Max, sensing CJ and Trent's feelings for each other, intentionally misbehaves, sabotaging CJ’s relationship, causing her and her boyfriend to break up and her to move out. After staying with various friends, Max pulls CJ to Trent on the street, who offers her his spare room.
Remembering how to diagnose cancer during his life as Molly, Max signals to CJ that he detects it on Trent. A doctor confirms and Trent begins chemo. His girlfriend shallowly leaves him, so CJ becomes his primary caretaker. Once Trent is cancer-free, he urges CJ to accept a meeting with Gloria. She has since warmed up to dogs and gives CJ some of the things sent from Ethan and Hannah (letters from Henry had written while she was pregnant with CJ). They inspire CJ to write more songs and perform, kicking off her musical career.
Trent takes CJ and Max on a road trip to the farm, where CJ reunites with her grandparents for the first time since she was a toddler. Ethan immediately recognizes Max as Bailey. He shows CJ, having Max perform a trick with Ethan that only Bailey would know. She finally understands that Bailey, Molly, Big Dog, and Max are all the same dog who brought her and Trent together.
CJ and Trent confess their love for one another, eventually marry and have a son named Saint. Gloria reconciles with her daughter and in-laws. Ethan dies in bed, surrounded by family, with Max at his side. Max later ages and dies as well, with CJ at his side. The final scene is with Bailey running through the grassy field, morphing backwards through his previous incarnations, before crossing the Rainbow Bridge and reuniting with Ethan in heaven. Bailey got to love Ethan forever as a reward for being a good dog throughout all of his lives.
- Josh Gad as the voice of Bailey, Molly, Big Dog and Max
Bruce As Bailey Shelly as Molly Scott as big dog and tony as max
- Dennis Quaid as Ethan Montgomery, Gloria's father-in-law, Hannah's husband, Bailey's owner and CJ's grandfather.
- Marg Helgenberger as Hannah Montgomery, Ethan's wife and CJ's grandmother. Helgenberger replaces Peggy Lipton from the first film.
- Betty Gilpin as Gloria Mitchell, Ethan and Hannah's daughter-in-law and CJ's neglectful and emotionally abusive mother.
- Kathryn Prescott as Clarity June "CJ" Montgomery, Gloria's daughter, Trent's love interest and Ethan and Hannah's granddaughter.
- Abby Ryder Fortson as Young CJ
- Emma Volk as Toddler CJ
- Henry Lau as Trent, CJ's best friend and love interest.
- Ian Chen as Young Trent
- Jake Manley as Shane, a criminal Mr. Sub employee who temporarily dates CJ, and later unknowingly and indirectly kills Molly.
- Johnny Galecki as Henry Montgomery, Hannah and Ethan's deceased son, Gloria's husband and CJ's father.
- Beckett Richard Pin as Saint, CJ and Trent's infant son who appears at the end of the film.
- Tyler Asher Xin-Qin as Newborn Saint
Principal photography began in August 2018.
The film was released by Universal Pictures on May 17, 2019. It was released by Entertainment One in foreign territories, where actor Peter Baykov is the voice of Trent for international release.
Blu-ray Bonus Features Include:
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Gag Reel
- A DOG'S Sequel, New and returning cast members discuss their roles in A Dog's Journey and share their appreciation for director Gail Mancuso.
- Everyone's Best Friend.
- Sit down with the cast to hear about their life-long love of man's best friend.
- Working with Dogs - Cast and crew share the joys of working with animal-actors.
- A Healing Journey - Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid and others discuss the bond between dogs and humans.
- Scoring the JOURNEY - Director Gail Mancuso and composer Mark Isham discuss the music in the film.
- Feature Commentary with Director Gail Mancuso
A Dog's Journey grossed $22.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $52.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $75.6 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and The Sun Is Also a Star, and was projected to gross $10–14 million from 3,267 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to just $8 million, the lowest opening of any of W. Bruce Cameron's Dog films. In its second weekend the film made $4.1 million, finishing seventh, and then $1 million in its third.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 80 reviews with an average rating of 5.17/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "A Dog's Journey is as sentimental as one might expect, but even cynical viewers may find their ability to resist shedding a tear stretched to the puppermost limit." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 43 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the same as its predecessor, while those at PostTrak gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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