Courtesy of Sony
“A Dog’s Way Home” - not to be confused as a sequel to “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is penned by the same author: W. Bruce Cameron - follows the same formulaic tactics other films in the genre (most notably “Homeward Bound”) have accomplished. The poster child being an adorable canine companion named Bella (optimistically voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard who feels out of place here) who gets separated from her family (among them a PTSD war veteran played by Ashley Judd) and begins a 400 mile trek from Mexico to Colorado and has to battle through brutal winters, poorly rendered CGI cougars, and those pesky animal control goons. It’s all syrupy and will no doubt melt the hearts of any dog-lover in attendance, but the film is devout of meaning or logic. It checks every canine cliché in the book (including the obligatory grocery store chase sequence) and presents flimsy and cartoonish characters that only exist as obstacles in Bella’s journey home. I suppose that’s the point, but I think it would make sense to offer realistic scenarios, however, such things don’t exist in family films about pups. It would’ve been nice had this irresistibly charming puppy been taught a new bag of tricks.