Do you love dogs? Do you like vulgar humor? Then you might be the perfect audience member for Strays.
If you took Homeward Bound and added plenty of dick jokes, poop jokes, curse words, and dogs talking like human beings, you’d get what Universal wants out of Strays. It stars Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, and Randall Park as the main dogs. Reggie (Ferrell) loves his owner, Doug (played by Will Forte, who will do anything for a laugh in this film), but Doug doesn’t love him back. One day, after trying to leave Reggie in increasingly far places, Doug takes Reggie so far away and leaves that he doesn’t know his way back. Along the way, he meets Bug (Foxx), Maggie (Fisher), and Hunter (Park). The four of them go on a bender of a night and then decide that Reggie wants to go back and bite Doug’s dick off.
That’s the plot for Strays. If you don’t think the idea of a small scruffy dog biting Will Forte’s dick off is funny, you really shouldn’t see this movie. It gets pretty normal after the whole uncanny valley thing wears off from seeing dogs’ mouths move and human words coming out. Strays does a magnificent job of blending when the dogs look like they’re CGI and when they’re actually real dog actors. The dialogue in the film is pretty smart but tends to veer into obsessively vulgar territory at points. You’re not going to find high-comedy in a movie about talking dogs going on a journey to bite a guy’s dick off.
What you do get in Strays is a pretty emotional story, especially for dog lovers. I know I can’t imagine giving up my dogs, especially just leaving them in some strange city to fend for themselves. So when Reggie goes through why Doug is a bad owner, it makes you think a bit about what we do with our dogs daily. For dog owners, it picks up on universal jokes, things that dogs do, and other stereotypical dog behavior. The boys make jokes about licking their private excessively. The little dogs are louder mouths than the big ones, and of course, the dreaded dog influencers.
Strays is a quick 93 minutes that feels like it goes by even faster than that. There’s not a lot of wasted time, and that’s a good thing. If the movie was any longer, the premise might not stretch that thin. Really what it comes down to is how much poop you’re able to handle. There’s a lot of juvenile humor here from writer Dan Perrault.
Will Ferrell is a highlight and channels his best Buddy the Elf as Reggie. He’s ignorant of the ways of the world and that his owner is a dirtbag, but he slowly realizes how the world works for real. After watching this movie, you might think twice about how you treat your dog. The real highlight are the animal actors here, though. They do a magnificent job and physically carry Strays. It’s a shame that they’re not properly credited because they’re the whole movie.
Really, though. The movie working all depends on how you feel about the comedy. This isn’t for you if you’re not into talking dogs and vulgarity. If you want a cute 90-minute comedy about dogs going on an adventure complete with a drug trip, biting a dude’s dick off, and finding their true purposes in life, you might enjoy Strays.
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