* * ½
shaggy dog tale)

Dogs don’t go to heaven. They are reincarnated.
Such is the tale of this schmaltzy shaggy-dog movie that starts in the ’50s with a “boy and his dog” story.
Josh Gad is the voice of Bailey and his other reincarnated selves, telling his stories through the eyes and minds of four dogs.
Most of the movie is spent on his life with his first human, a young boy named Ethan, and it plays like one of those early Lassie movies. Ethan spends every hour in the day with Bailey, even taking him on dates with his girlfriend.
There’s an abusive, drunken father, a heroic moment for the dog, tragedy, lost love and eventually death for Bailey.
But have no fear. Bailey’s back in a flash, as a German Shepard police dog, again devoted to his master and saving lives. Then he’s a tiny dog claimed by a lonely college student and eventually aiding in hooking her up with her future husband and his dog.
His final reincarnation is as a St. Bernard and that brings the circle of life full-circle in a contrived, tear-jerker ending starring Dennis Quaid as the much older Ethan.
Kids and people who liked the old, squeaky-clean Lassie movies may enjoy this. Rated PG.


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