October 11, 2023

STRAYS: Dirty Deeds Done By Dogs

STRAYS (Blu-ray)
2023 / 93 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😼

One of my co-workers took her nine-year-old kid to see Strays in a theater, apparently unaware that it wasn't a family comedy. The following Monday morning, she told me she dragged her daughter out of the theater after 20 minutes and demanded her money back, shocked at the language, drug use and sex jokes.

I nodded politely. But inside, I wondered how anyone would mistake Strays for The Incredible Journey. Even if she never read a single review, its R-rating was part of the entire ad campaign…even prominent in the poster art. Hell, the trailer practically screamed NOT FOR KIDS. I came to the sad conclusion that my oblivious colleague probably needs to be verbally instructed not to drink Windex…no matter how refreshing it looks.

For those who actually pay attention to DO NOT DRINK labels on cleaning products, Strays is exactly the movie you think it’s going to be, which is either a good thing or a bad thing. Anyone who appreciated the “shock” humor of such movies as Sausage Party and Good Boys will be in hog heaven (or rather, dog heaven), since a majority of its gags involve bodily functions, sex, drug use and talking dogs who drop more f-bombs than Tony Montana.

Reservoir Dogs II.
Are pooches humping inanimate objects inherently funny? Some folks might think so, but this film tends to beat that joke to death. The same could be said about the plethora of swearing and scatological humor. Some of that stuff is amusing, but the novelty wears off pretty quick. 

That’s not to say Strays is never funny. When not reaching out to our inner 12-year-old, there are some huge laughs here and there, such as a brief-but-priceless scene introducing “Narrator Dog.” It’s a clever parody of A Dog’s Purpose with a morbid punchline I wouldn’t dream of revealing here. 

Even the plot itself offers a amusingly twisted take on films like The Incredible Journey. But instead of three pets accidentally separated from their owners, Reggie (Will Ferrell) is a sweet-natured terrier who’s dumped by his cruel, shiftless master, Doug (Will Forte). Growing more streetwise with the help of a few fellow strays led by Bug (Jamie Foxx), the four dogs embark on the long journey to find Doug…not for a heartfelt reunion, but so Reggie can “bite his dick off.”

So while the barrage of piss and poop jokes becomes rote pretty quickly, the story is fairly engaging - even sweet-natured, at times - and the dogs are endowed with distinctive, likable personalities. With the exception of my oblivious co-worker, nothing in Strays is likely to shock its intended audience, but it certainly delivers what they expect.


FEATURETTES - Talk Like a Dog (the voice actors); The Ultimate Treat - Making Strays; Poop, Booms and Shrooms; Will Forte - Stray Actor; Training to be a Stray (training the dog actors); A New Best Friend.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director-producer Josh Greenbaum & screenwriter-producer Dan Perrault.


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