It’s hard to love this sen­ti­men­tal shaggy dog tale

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A Dog’s Journey (PG) Ver­dict: Doggedly soppy

THIS is the lit­tle-awaited (at least by me) se­quel to the 2017 film A Dog’s Pur­pose, which was mawk­ish and twee and a colos­sal box-of­fice hit.

Like the first film, it is based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron, and fol­lows the same sac­cha­rine premise, that a much-loved fam­ily dog keeps be­ing re­born as other dogs. He is folksily voiced all the way through by Josh Gad.

As in A Dog’s Pur­pose, a hu­man’s worth is mea­sured en­tirely by their level of ca­nine em­pa­thy. Any­one who doesn’t like dogs is rot­ten and toxic, and this in­cludes Glo­ria ( Betty Gilpin), the feck­less, Bo­nioi­dle daugh­ter-in-law of Han­nah (Mary Hel­gen­berger).

Glo­ria doesn’t care much for dogs and by ex­ten­sion is a rub­bish mother to lit­tle CJ, who grows up to be played in adult­hood by Bri­tish ac­tress Kathryn Prescott, and even­tu­ally, with the help of the hound for­merly known as Bai­ley, finds her way to the Nor­man Rock­well-style farm where she spent her tod­dler years, just in time to see her grand­mother’s cud­dly husband ( Den­nis Quaid,

pic­tured) breathe his last. Heaven is rep­re­sented as a huge field, which would be the corni­est thing in the film if it wasn’t for ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing that has come be­fore.

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