I’m not going to spend long on this review because overall, it’s cute and schmaltzy, basically a Hallmark movie that your kids will enjoy because…dogs!
Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) starts out in life as a puppy living under a broken down, abandoned house. When her mom, Mother Dog, is taken away, she is looked after by none other than Mother Cat.
Soon enough, she’s adopted by a family, including Lucas, a young medical student at a VA Hospital and his mother, a veteran who attends group therapy sessions there from time to time. Lucas, Mom and Bella become a happy family until an evil developer interferes and through a series of hijinx, Bella ends up on her own in the wild, lost and far away from home.
From there, the canine goes on a two-year quest to get back home, meeting all sorts of friends along the way, from a mountain lion that becomes her BFF to a pack of dogs who knock over trash cans for sustenance to a dog abandoned by his owner and more.
Happy at times, sad at others, it’s so hokey it’ll make you puke but again, the kids will like it, because there are dogs and one of them talks. There seems to be a growing number of movies with talking dogs and how the filmmakers have the patience to stare at a dog for hours on end with a camera until the dog performs the desired action to keep the film running, I’ll never know.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. FYI it is a follow-up to A Dog’s Purpose, another film based on W. Bruce Cameron’s work. This dude is raking it in on his dog books. Sometimes, all you need is a good niche, and this guy really knows how to pull at the heartstrings of pet owners.