Review: ‘Coffee & Kareem,’ starring Ed Helms, Terrence Little Gardenhigh and Taraji P. Henson

April 3, 2020

by Carla Hay

Ed Helms and Terrence Little Gardenhigh in “Coffee & Kareem” (Photo by Justina Mintz)

“Coffee & Kareem”

Directed by Michael Dowse

Culture Representation: Taking place in Detroit, the slapstick action comedy “Coffee & Kareem” has a racially diverse cast that includes representation of white people, African Americans and Asians in the middle class or criminal underworld.

Culture Clash: A white cop, who’s dating an African American single mother, has a hard time being accepted by her 12-year-old son, and somehow they all end up in a dangerous battle against drug-dealing, murderous gangsters.

Culture Audience: “Coffee & Kareem” will appeal mostly to people who like comedy to be as offensive and dumb as possible.

Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Little Gardenhigh and Ed Helms in “Coffee & Kareem” (Photo by Justina Mintz)

Before anyone is subjected to the toxic dump that is “Coffee & Kareem,” there should be plenty of warnings about how this loathsome movie has a perverted fixation on boys being sexualized. Every 10 minutes in this so-called “comedy,” there’s a joke about men having sex with boys, or the movie’s 12-year-old boy shouts to men, “Suck my dick!,” and other sexual commands that are much more explicit.

There is nothing new about films with underage actors saying very adult things in the name of comedy. (Two examples are 2010’s “Kick-Ass” and 2019’s “Good Boys.”) But those other movies about kids saying adult things weren’t about the constant repetition of pedophilia jokes. “Coffee & Kareem” takes this gimmick to such depraved and unfunny levels that it says a lot about the disgusting mindsets of screenwriter Shane Mack and director Michael Dowse and how creatively bankrupt they are to use pedophilia as a running joke in this trashy movie.

“Coffee & Kareem” is also filled with a lot of racist stereotypes and homophobic comments that are also supposed to pass as “jokes.” It’s a shame that Taraji P. Henson, who is capable of doing Oscar-caliber work and who talks a lot about empowering African Americans, seems to be flushing her career down the toilet by doing this pathetic, degrading excuse of a movie. “Coffee & Kareem” is an insult not just to African Americans but also to anyone who wants raunchy comedies to actually be funny. Whatever she got paid for making this garbage movie isn’t worth the credibility that she’s lost by attaching herself to this racist crap.

It should come as no surprise that there isn’t much of a plot to “Coffee & Kareem,” which seems to exist for the purpose of making a black boy look as ghetto, ignorant and nasty as possible. Terrence Little Gardenhigh is the foul-mouthed 12-year-old brat Kareem Manning, the son of single mother Vanessa Manning (played by Henson), who is under the delusion that Kareem is a lovable and nice kid.

They live in Detroit, where Vanessa is dating an awkward and nerdy cop named Jim Coffee (played by Ed Helms, in yet another of his long list of awkward and nerdy character roles). Not surprisingly, Kareem doesn’t approve of the relationship. In the beginning of the movie, after Kareem is dropped off at school, Coffee stops by Vanessa’s house so they can have a romantic tryst.

But, of course, since this movie is obsessed with sexualizing Kareem, he’s come back home to retrieve his phone, and he sees his mother and Coffee having sex. It’s an excuse for the filmmakers to make Kareem say angrily about Coffee having sex with Vanessa: “That fucking pig stuck his dick in the wrong blanket.” And that’s one of the tamer things that Kareem says in the movie.

Kareem is a wannabe rapper (how unoriginal) who, as it’s shown soon enough in the movie, is quick to accuse any male adult of trying to sexually molest him if they dare to try to discipline him when he’s breaking rules. Coffee is no exception to these hateful threats from Kareem. It’s a “joke” that gets old very quickly and it’s over-used to the point where you have to wonder why these filmmakers are so fixated on men performing sex acts on boys, because it’s mentioned so many times in this movie. Helms gets some of the blame here too, since he’s one of the film’s producers.

Coffee is not just disrespected by Kareem, but he also has problems getting respect in his workplace. One of Coffee’s fellow cops—an ambitious and aggressive detective named Watts (played by Betty Gilpin)—frequently ridicules him. Watts thinks that Coffee is a wimp, and she doesn’t hesitate to humiliate him in front of their co-workers, including taunting Coffee over the fact that his ex-wife cheated on him with numerous men and eventually left him.

Watts’ constant insults about Coffee’s sex life and manhood reach a point where Coffee has filed a sexual-harassment complaint against her, but their supervisor Captain Hill (played by David Alan Grier) doesn’t take the complaint seriously and dismisses it. The captain also doesn’t want to reprimand Watts, who is a star on the police force, since she’s led a recent high-profile drug bust that confiscated almost one ton of cocaine. The drug dealer responsible for this drug inventory is named Orlando Johnson (played by RonReaco Lee), and he was arrested as part of the drug bust.

But to add to Coffee’s further humiliation, while Orlando was being transported in the back of Coffee’s squad car, Orlando escaped and stole the car. And it was all caught on surveillance video, so the escape is shown on the news. (Apparently, the Detroit Police Department doesn’t want Coffee to have a cop partner, since he’s never seen with a partner.) Because of this major blunder of letting Orlando escape, Coffee gets all the blame and is demoted to traffic duty.

Meanwhile, even though he’s only 12 years old, Kareem has a plan to get a local gangster to “scare off” Coffee, so that Coffee will stop dating Kareem’s mother. And wouldn’t you know, out of all the criminals he wants to recruit to do this dirty deed, it’s Orlando. This movie is so dumb that it wants viewers to believe that even though Kareem doesn’t know Orlando, he can somehow find him in the big city of Detroit and pay piggy-bank-level money (literally a bag of coins) to do something bad to Coffee.

One day, Coffee picks Kareem up from school, and Kareem asks Coffee for a ride to a seedy part of town. Kareem goes to a boxing gym (which is really Orlando’s gangster hideout) with his bag of coins to pay Orlando to rough up Coffee. On the way to this destination, Coffee shows Kareem his police baton as a way to try to impress Kareem and perhaps form a friendly bond with him.

Kareem asks about the baton, “Ever wonder how far you can get that down your throat?” Coffee replies, “That’s not what it’s for.” Kareem responds, “Because it tastes like the ass of an innocent black man?” That’s what passes for humor in this movie. And that’s one of the least rude and crude things that Kareem says in “Coffee & Kareem.”

Before Kareem goes into the boxing-gym room to do the deal, he begins video recording on his phone so that he can upload it later on social media. When he gets in the room, Kareem sees Orlando with two of his thug cohorts—wannabe intellectual Rodney (played by Andrew Bachelor) and trigger-happy dimwit Dee (played by William “Big Sleeps” Stewart). They’ve tied up and tortured one of Coffee’s fellow police officers, Steve Choi (played by Terry Chen), for reasons that are revealed in the movie. (Not that anyone with a brain will care by then.)

Some chaos ensues, and Choi is shot and killed by Dee. Hearing the commotion, Coffee enters the room and tries to arrest the three criminals. It’s easy to predict how badly this goes. There’s a shootout, and soon Coffee and Kareem are running for their lives. But before they race off, Kareem accidentally drops his phone, which recorded the murder. And, of course, Orlando finds the phone and uses it to find out Kareem’s identity and where he lives.

Coffee becomes a wanted man by police because he unrealistically gets accused of murdering Choi. Coffee is also falsely accused of kidnapping of Kareem. Coffee’s fugitive status is all over the news media. And so, not only are Coffee and Kareem try to hide from the gangsters, they’re also on the run from the police. They go to Vanessa’s house to tell her what’s going on, and she too gets involved in this ridiculous mess.

“Coffee & Kareem” then devolves further into over-the-top shootouts, car chases, kidnappings and Kareem’s never-ending fixation on men performing sex acts on him. There’s a final insipid showdown involving massive explosions where one of the main characters is able to unrealistically walk out of a building that was completely destroyed by an explosion. Perhaps the only thing that can be described as entertaining in “Coffee & Kareem” is Gilpin’s totally unhinged performance (which is the best thing about this very bad film), but it’s not enough to overcome all of the stupid filth that’s in this movie.

Henson and Helms should get no praise at all for their acting in this film, since they’re just rehashing the same types of characters that they’ve played in pretty much every comedy that they do. Henson always plays someone quick-tempered and “sassy,” while Helms always plays a dork who gets caught up in situations that are way over his head. As for Gardenhigh, who plays the completely obnoxious Kareem, “Coffee & Kareem” is his first feature film. And based on the horrible impression that he leaves, it’ll probably be a while before he gets another starring role in a major feature-length movie.

“Coffee & Kareem” is so repulsive that everyone involved in making this trash should be ashamed to be associated with it. If “Coffee & Kareem” were available to buy or rent as a separate movie, instead of being a movie that’s exclusive to Netflix, then there would be and should be a whole lot of people demanding refunds.

Netflix premiered “Coffee and Kareem” on April 3, 2020.

Review: ‘The Hunt,’ starring Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank

March 13, 2020

by Carla Hay

Betty Gilpin in “The Hunt” (Photo by Patti Perret/Universal Pictures)

“The Hunt”

Directed by Craig Zobel

Culture Representation: Taking place mostly in a remote part of Croatia, which is disguised as the United States, the satirical horror film “The Hunt” has a predominantly white cast of characters portraying wealthy, middle-class and working-class people.

Culture Clash: Wealthy liberal elitists kidnap, hunt and kill non-wealthy conservatives who believe in conspiracy theories.

Culture Audience: This movie will appeal mostly to people who like horror movies to have an underlying social message, but “The Hunt” doesn’t live up to its controversial hype and is just another mediocre violent movie with a high body count.

Vince Pisani, Hilary Swank, Teri Wyble and Hannah Alline in “The Hunt” (Photo by Patti Perret/Universal Pictures)

The irony about the controversy that postponed the release of the horror flick “The Hunt” is that the movie is a scathing commentary about wanting to permanently silence people, based on assumptions about certain people’s intentions. That’s exactly what happened to “The Hunt,” when numerous people, who never saw the movie, protested by saying that the film glorifies murder and was too dangerous to ever be released.

In response, Universal Pictures, which had originally scheduled “The Hunt” for release in September 2019, pulled the movie from its schedule, before releasing the film six months later. And although some things could have been edited out of the film to make it less controversial—we might never know because the movie wasn’t screened for the media when the September 2019 release was cancelled—what did make it into the film shows that the controversy was much ado about nothing.

The controversy was fueled by concerns that “The Hunt” (which is about a group of people killing another group of people) was not an appropriate movie to release at a time when there were mass shootings in America. But the reality is that most horror movies are usually violent and are about people getting murdered. Violence has been a part of most horror movies, long before there was an increase in gun violence and mass shootings in the real world.

The reason for the protests against “The Hunt” go much deeper than concerns about inspiring copycat killings, because “The Hunt” was perceived as a politically charged film commenting on the divide between liberals and conservatives in America. How these two opposite groups would be portrayed in the movie was perhaps scarier or more offensive to a lot of the protesters than any of the gory violence that “The Hunt” was sure to depict. (And in case anyone was wondering, all the hunters and hunted in the movie are white Americans, so the movie avoids any racist or xenophobic controversy.)

It turns out that it was a mistake to automatically think that “The Hunt” glorifies liberals and demonizes conservatives. The liberals (the hunters) are actually the worst characters in the film (because they’re murderers), while the conservatives (the hunted) don’t really spout any of the narrow-minded, bigoted views in the movie that they allegedly have. The hunted people are too busy trying to survive the violent attacks that they get almost immediately after waking up bound and gagged in a remote field. And one of the hunted ends up being the movie’s main hero who fights back.

Her name is Crystal (played by Betty Gilpin), who’s a car-rental employee, and her spotlight as the movie’s toughest badass in the hunted group doesn’t come until about 25 minutes into the movie. But before then, at the beginning of the movie, viewers see someone’s phone with the text-message conversation that sets in motion this whole idea of “hunting conservatives.”

One of the text messages said that there would be “nothing better than going out to the manor and slaughtering a bunch of deplorables.”  For people who didn’t follow the U.S. presidential race in 2016, the “deplorables” word refers to a controversial September 2016 speech that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made when she said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of [Donald] Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”

On a private plane, viewers see some of the people who were part of the text conversation. They’re fussy, snobbish (such as when they treat the flight attendant like she’s an idiot), and try to outdo each other in political correctness when they talk about social issues. Their extreme “wokeness” is obviously a parody.

But there’s some truth in the satire, such as in the way one of the pretentious elitists interrogates the flight attendant over the ingredients of his meal, to give the impression that he’s extremely concerned about the environment. And yet, he doesn’t see the irony that flying on a private jet is most definitely not an environmentally responsible thing to do.

The airplane crew members are oblivious to the sinister nature of the trip until a heavyset guy in a flannel shirt staggers out into the cabin area. The elitists panic and say that he wasn’t supposed to be awake yet, he’s called a “redneck,” and he’s dealt with in a very violent way. The person who’s the mastermind of this trip then shows herself: Her name is Athena (played by Hilary Swank), and it’s clear that she’s a ruthless psycho who can’t wait for the hunt to begin.

The hunted people have been drugged and kidnapped from various parts of the United States. (The druggings and kidnappings are mentioned, but not shown, in the movie.) By the time the hunted people have woken up bound and gagged in a remote open field, it doesn’t take long before they’re being shot at repeatedly by the hunters. The hunted people later find out that they’re not in the United States, as they assumed, but have been taken to a remote part of Croatia, for reasons that are explained in a certain part of the story. (The movie was actually filmed in Louisiana.)

One of the hunted is a nameless young woman (played by Emma Roberts) with big blonde hair and pastel blue athleisure wear, looking like someone’s idea of what a Fox News anchor would be like at home. She manages to free herself from her bindings, and she finds a key to unlock the gags that they’re wearing. Eventually, everyone gets free of their bindings and gags.

And then the hunted find a giant locked crate in the middle of the field, which is pried open to reveal a live pig (which viewers find out later is named Wilbur, because the movie has multiple references to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”) and an arsenal for them to use to defend themselves. The arsenal is a large variety, including samurai swords, Smith & Wesson firearms and fully automatic military-grade weapons. Meanwhile, Crystal is shown briefly by herself making a compass out of a leaf and a straight pin.

The hunted, who are mostly nameless in the movie, includes an options trader (played by Ike Barinholtz), who’s originally from New York’s Staten Island; a podcast host (played by Ethan Suplee); and various people who look like stereotypical “rednecks,” by wearing flannel shirts or outfits that look like they’re about to go fishing and, ironically, hunting.

The hunters are all dressed in luxury designer clothes. They’ve also hired a military-trained firearms expert named Sgt. Dale (played by Steve Mokate), who acts as their consultant for this killing spree. The details about who these hunters are and why they decided to participate in this massacre are revealed later in the story.

“The Hunt” (which was written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, who’ve worked together on the HBO shows “The Leftovers” and “Watchmen”) constantly skewers the elitist “liberal” views of the hunters. In one scene, two of the hunters debate over whether or not they should have included politically conservative people of color in the all-white group of targets because they need to have “diversity.”

In another scene, one of the hunters is wearing a Japanese-style robe, and one of the cohorts makes this remark: “Is that a kimono? That’s cultural appropriation.” And as one of the hunters gasses a victim, he says to the person he’s killing: “And for the record, climate change is real.” These jokes are meant to be clever, but they wear thin after a while because the tone of the movie is so uneven.

On the one hand, “The Hunt” wants to be a biting social commentary on the destructive hatred that can arise from extreme political differences. On the other hand, the commentary is undermined by the slapstick comedy in much of the film, whose violence is almost cartoonish.

The big showdown at the end of “The Hunt” is especially ridiculous, as the people involved suddenly have superhuman-like stunt skills and recover from injuries so quickly and unrealistically, that it takes away the humanity that’s necessary for a story like this to work well. In the end, “The Hunt” is a lot like the self-righteous political blowhards that the movie intends to spoof—there’s a lot more bark than there is bite.

Universal Pictures released “The Hunt” in U.S. cinemas on March 13, 2020.

UPDATE: Because of the widespread coronavirus-related closures of movie theaters worldwide, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has moved up the VOD release of “The Hunt” to March 20, 2020.

Review: ‘The Grudge’ (2020), starring Andrea Riseborough

January 3, 2020

by Carla Hay

Andrea Riseborough in “The Grudge” (2020) (Photo by Allen Fraser)

“The Grudge” (2020)

Directed by Nicolas Pesce

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in the United States and briefly in Japan, this reimagining (and third version) of the Japanese horror movie “The Grudge” has a predominantly white cast playing mostly American characters, with some representation of Asian, Latino and African American characters.

Culture Clash: A supernatural ghost story, the main plot involves the conflict between living humans and the evil spirits that cause murder and mayhem. A minor subtext is the movie characters’ varying levels of superstitions and beliefs in the paranormal.

Culture Audience: “The Grudge” will appeal primarily to horror fans who like scary stories to stick to a certain formula and don’t mind if a movie takes long stretches to build suspense.

Andrea Riseborough in “The Grudge” (2020) (Photo by Allen Fraser)

A lot has changed in the horror-movie landscape since Japanese filmmaker Takashi Shimizu wrote and directed his classic 2002 film “Ju-on: The Grudge.” Shimizu directed Hollywood versions that were a remake (2004’s smash hit “The Grudge”) and an inferior sequel (2006’s “The Grudge 2”). While the aforementioned movies took place primarily in Japan, and the first two Hollywood versions were rated PG-13, the 2020 Hollywood version of “The Grudge” (with Nicolas Pesce as writer/director) takes place almost entirely in the United States and is rated R.  If you’re wondering why this movie is rated R instead of PG-13, it’s because the death scenes are bloodier and gorier. (Don’t watch this movie if it’s too disturbing for you to see a child being murdered.) But having more graphically violent killings doesn’t necessarily make a horror movie better or scarier.

Movie audiences now have much higher standards than when the first “Grudge” movies were released. Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele, who is the reigning king of writing and directing horror films, has been offering up biting social commentaries in his movies that go beyond the usual horror tropes of murdered people and good versus evil. “The Grudge” is Pesce’s third feature film, and he has some way to go before he can reach the level of storytelling talent shown by Peele and other horror filmmakers such as Ari Aster and Jennifer Kent, who all began making movies around the same time as Pesce. Peele’s blockbuster success indicates there’s a huge appetite for R-rated, original horror movies that do something a little different than expected. Sam Raimi (director of the first three “Spider-Man” movies, “Evil Dead” and “Drag Me to Hell”) is a producer of all of the Hollywood versions of “The Grudge,” so it’s disappointing that he’s behind a horror movie as boring as this one.

As it stands, the 2020 reimagining of “The Grudge” breaks no new ground whatsoever. The movie takes place from 2004 to 2006, which is how outdated the horror writing seems to be for this film. In between long stretches of the movie’s under-written characters looking morose, shocked or confused, there are predictable and not-very-frightening jump scares. Pesce also has a thing for showing rotting, decaying or burned flesh with flies buzzing around (even in the butcher section of a grocery store), since those images show up numerous times in the movie. The cinematography from Zack Galler is gloomy and foreboding in all the right places, but there’s so much “been there, done that” to the film that almost nothing in this movie feels original.

You don’t have to see the previous “Grudge” movies to know that this is yet another horror film about an evil spirit taking over a home, and the body count starts to increase when the spirit goes on a vengeful murder spree. “The Grudge” is one of many horror film franchises that have used this trope, including “The Amityville Horror,” “Poltergeist,” “The Ring,” “Insidious” and “The Conjuring”/”Annabelle” movies. If you’ve seen any of these films, you can know what to expect from the 2020 version of “The Grudge.”

Switching the location from Japan to the United States (in the fictional suburb of Cross River, Pennsylvania) does little to make the 2020 version of “The Grudge” more interesting. In fact, it makes the movie even more generic than the previous “Grudge” movies (which took place in Tokyo in the 2004 film and Tokyo and Chicago in the 2006 sequel), because Cross River is indistinguishable from the many other similar, nondescript American suburbs that are the locations of countless other horror films. Pesce should be commended for not following the horror-movie cliché of having a female protagonist who’s a nubile woman in her late teens or 20s with not much adult life experience. However, Andrea Riseborough’s Detective Muldoon character (a police officer who’s in her 30s) is so hollow and underdeveloped that Riseborough’s considerable acting talent is wasted.

At the beginning of the film, it’s 2006, and Muldoon (Pesce didn’t give her or any of the other police officers a first name) is grieving the loss of her husband, who died of cancer three months before. She and her pre-adolescent son move to Cross River to get a fresh start. Immediately upon arriving in Cross River, Muldoon is intrigued by a case from 2004, in which a Cross River woman named Fiona Landers (played by Tara Westwood) murdered her husband Sam (played by David Lawrence Brown) and their underage daughter Melinda (played by Zoe Fish) in their home before committing suicide. In the film’s opening scene, Fiona is seen in Tokyo talking in a panic on the phone, because she’s clearly spooked by something, and she says she can’t wait to come home to the United States. (And there you have the thread between the previous “Grudge” movies and this one.)

It’s also obvious from this script with too many plot holes that Pesce would have benefited from better research of real-life police work. Muldoon’s partner Detective Goodman (played by Demián Bichir) was one of the two detectives who arrived at the Landers crime scene and assigned to investigate the case (remember, this is fairly small city), but he says that he was too scared and superstitious to ever go inside the house where the murder took place. You don’t have to be a cop expert to know that kind of incompetent investigator wouldn’t last long as a homicide detective. Muldoon, however, doesn’t bat an eye when Goodman tells her that he never went inside the crime scene. It’s explained later in the movie why Goodman was intuitive enough to know that if he went in the house, he might be “cursed,” but it’s a shaky explanation that does little to bolster the very thin plot.

Meanwhile, Pesce tries to fill out the story by inserting some unnecessary subplots that are shown as flashbacks to what happened to the people who lived in the house after the murders. A married couple in the film—Peter and Nina Spencer (played by John Cho and Betty Gilpin)—also have a connection to the house. Peter and Nina have a real-estate business together, and they’re the first people to buy and move into the house after the murders. Peter must be the dumbest real-estate agent in Pennsylvania, because he’s unaware of the recent murder-suicide tragedy at the house, which would undoubtedly be one of the first things a real-estate agent would know in buying or selling property.

When he shows up at the house to close the deal, he sees a sad, sick-looking girl with no parents around, and she starts bleeding from the nose, so Peter goes in the house and helps stop her nosebleed. Of course, the viewers already know who this girl and her parents are. Peter goes in the house and calls her father (because we’re supposed to believe that dead people can do real-estate deals to sell the house they were murdered in), gets the father’s voice mail (of course), expresses confusion over why the father missed the appointment, and tells him that his daughter has a nosebleed but that she should be just fine. (Really?)

Peter and Nina (who’s pregnant) have recently found out that their unborn child will likely be born with a crippling disease, and Nina has to decide whether or not to continue with the pregnancy. There seems to be no other reason to put that medical drama in the story other than to make Peter and Nina a more sympathetic and tragic couple, considering what happens to them later in the movie. (This movie’s trailer pretty much gave away that things do not end well for Peter and Nina.)

Another pair of unlucky residents of the house are William and Faith Matheson (played by Frankie Faison and Lin Shaye), a couple who’ve been married for 50 years. Faith has a terminal disease, which has gotten worse after they moved into the house in 2005. A distraught William has consulted with euthanasia specialist Lorna Moody (played by Jacki Weaver) to find out if Lorna can use her services on Faith. When Lorna meets her, Faith is definitely acting crazy, because she says likes to play peekaboo with her imaginary friend Melinda. It’s no surprise that Lorna quickly decides that Faith is mentally unfit to consent to euthanasia. You can easily guess where this subplot goes.

Meanwhile, as Muldoon becomes more obsessed with the Landers murder case, she starts seeing menacing ghosts that look exactly like the dead Landers family. She also finds out that Goodman’s former cop partner Detective Wilson (played by William Sadler), who investigated the case with Goodman, has since been put in in a psychiatric institution. Naturally, she tracks him down and interviews him. And because she already decided to enter the empty house to investigate this closed case on her own, we all know what that means.

One of the biggest complaints that movie fans have about the industry is that there are too many unnecessary remakes and reboots. Unfortunately, the 2020 version of “The Grudge” is an example of a remake that should not have attempted a comeback.

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Screen Gems released “The Grudge” in U.S. cinemas on January 3, 2020.

 

 

Dennis Quaid returns for ‘A Dog’s Journey,’ the sequel to ‘A Dog’s Purpose’

May 17, 2019

Dennis Quaid in “A Dog’s Journey” directed by Gail Mancuso. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment)

The following is a description from Universal Pictures:

Some friendships transcend lifetimes. In “A Dog’s Journey,” the sequel to the heartwarming global hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” beloved dog Bailey finds his new destiny and forms an unbreakable bond that will lead him, and the people he loves, to places they never imagined.

Bailey (voiced again by Josh Gad) is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his “boy,” Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Ethan’s wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger). He even has a new playmate: Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter, CJ. The problem is that CJ’s mom, Gloria (Betty Gilpin), decides to take CJ away. As Bailey’s soul prepares to leave this life for a new one, he makes a promise to Ethan to find CJ and protect her at any cost.

Thus begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives filled with love, friendship and devotion as he, CJ (Kathryn Prescott), and CJ’s best friend Trent (Henry Lau) experience joy and heartbreak, music and laughter, and few really good belly rubs.

Directed by Emmy winner Gail Mancuso (TV’s “Modern Family”), “A Dog’s Journey” is produced by Gavin Polone (“A Dog’s Purpose”), and written by W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon, and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky, based on the best-selling novel by Cameron. The film, from Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment, in association with Walden Media and Alibaba Pictures, will be distributed by Universal Pictures domestically, and by Universal Pictures and Amblin Partners internationally.

Cast: Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Henry Lau, Kathryn Prescott, with Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad

Director: Gail Mancuso

Screenplay By: W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky

Based on the novel by: W. Bruce Cameron

Producer: Gavin Polone

Executive Producers: Seth William Meier, Lasse Hallström, Luyuan Fan, Wei Zhang

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