FILM REVIEW: Strays
Takes what is traditionally a family-friendly concept and stuffs it with risqué jokes
Dog and raunch-comedy fans rejoice! Strays is here. When a naive Border Terrier named Reggie is abandoned by his neglectful owner, he meets a group of streetwise city-dogs who help him stand on his own four paws. Still not over his owner, though, the group set off on an adventure to find him and 'bite his dick off'.
In a similar vein to 2016’s Sausage Party, an animated adult comedy about talking food products, Strays takes what is traditionally a family-friendly concept, that of talking dogs, and stuffs it with risqué jokes that address the irony of being a dog as well as all the four-letter words that we are not used to hearing come out of a dog’s mouth. Some jokes strike a chord and are bonkers enough to get a genuine laugh, most notably a certain scene involving a narrator dog at a carnival, but most of the jokes are unfortunately low-hanging fruit.
The film has a packed voice cast of comedic talent including Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher and Randall Park, but the real stars here are the dog actors. Aided minimally by CGI, these dogs are well trained enough to hit their marks in a scene and have naturally expressive faces (as far as the animal kingdom goes) that will extract some warmth from the audience. Will Forte on the other hand, normally silly and humorous, plays Reggie’s owner and is a completely detestable character. Dog-lovers will instantly be behind the strays on their quest for revenge.
Truthfully, the film isn’t any more special or funny than your standard raunch-comedy, going for easy jokes and relying on swear words to deliver laughs. But, at the very least, Strays absolutely delivers on its premise of an adult-themed talking dog movie. If that isn’t enough for you, the sweet dog actors should get you some of the way there.