We are a longtime Boston Terrier family and I always wondered what our dogs would sound like if they could talk to us. (Surely I’m not the only one with such crazy ideas.) So, the prospect of an R-rated comedy in which Jamie Foxx voices a smart Boston guy named Bug – who dropped so many F-bombs – became full of mushrooms and abandoned bumps on the sofa – it was very interesting.
When Reggie is abandoned on the mean city streets by his lowlife owner, Doug, Reggie is certain that his beloved owner would never leave him on purpose. But once Reggie falls in with Bug, a fast-talking, foul-mouthed stray who loves his freedom and believes that owners are for suckers, Reggie finally realizes he was in a toxic relationship and begins to see Doug for the heartless sleazeball that he is.
“Strays” is a comedy, a final adventure at the end of summer. But it finds enough ways to approach that joke in its absolutely brief running time to keep it fun and engaging. The way it subverts the comforting tropes of canine adventure films is often inspired by hilarity. And there’s great chemistry in the cast, especially between Foxx and star Will Ferrell, who had the unusual benefit of filming together.
Director Josh Greenbaum demonstrates a flair for out-of-this-world comedy with sweetness at its core in the delightfully whimsical “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” (2021). He achieves a similar balance with rougher material on “Strays.” In addition to containing a lot of profanity, Dan Perrault’s script includes plenty of lame and piss jokes (not all of which are entirely childish), intense sex scenes, and wild mayhem which some people may find shocking. But the film also explores the importance of identifying and escaping toxic relationships, gaining a sense of self-worth, and receiving support from deep, unexpected friendships.
I probably cried a few times. Like I said at the beginning, a gentle touch. Your mileage may vary on this dog-friendly road trip.
“Strays” begins on an upbeat note with narration from Ferrell as Reggie, an adorably scruffy Border Terrier, unaware that his miserable, abusive owner (Will Forte) hates him. and always try to give it up. “Today is going to be the best day ever!” » he says cheerfully, recalling Margot Robbie’s optimism at the beginning of “Barbie”. And it’s completely coincidental that “Strays” has a similar structure to Greta Gerwig’s mega-blockbuster:
The idealistic character leaves home, goes into the “real world,” makes friends, and learns harsh truths before returning to reconcile with new acquaintances. Only in this case, the main character’s goal is literally to bite off her master’s penis, a more violent form of evasion from the patriarchy than Barbie could have imagined. Ferrell essentially plays a version of his character from “Elf” here, mixing wide-eyed enthusiasm with deadpan observations and injecting his signature sincerity into a silly role. As always, he is very funny.
After his owner abandons him in a remote town, Reggie receives help in his quest from Bug, a gossipy man who insists that he wants to become a wanderer and travel the world with the confidence of ‘a little dog who thinks he’s a big dog’. Foxx has great energy here, savoring the musicality of his character’s every expletive. Also along for the ride are Australian Shepherd Maggie (Isla Fisher), a talented sniffer, and a Great Dane named Hunter (Randall Park), a former police K-9 who now works as a therapy dog for old person. Curses and disastrous antics ensue, most of which you’ve probably already seen in the trailer, but luckily there are plenty of surprises in store. The visual effects go largely smoothly, with all the dogs (and their invisible handlers) turning in impressive physical performances. Some facial and mouth movements are jerky and inconsistent, especially when it comes to Bug’s dialogue. Is it too much to ask for complete realism in a movie about a talking dog at the end of summer?
The disgusting jokes may get a little repetitive, but “Strays” ultimately redeems itself