When I first encountered “Strays” several months ago, I wasn’t enthralled. The concept of Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx voicing dogs that engage in raunchy banter and partake in a basic adventure seemed lackluster. Even now, it’s a hard sell. However, it seems the creators understood this and leaned into their film’s unique strengths.
The protagonist of “Strays” is Reg, a naive, perhaps slightly dim-witted dog, who adores his owner, Doug. Unfortunately, Doug is far from the ideal owner. A self-loathing addict with no job, living off his mother’s charity, and cheating on his girlfriend, Doug’s disdain for everything includes Reg. Yet, when Doug abandons Reg in the city, the dog’s desire isn’t just to find his way back, but to seek revenge. It’s during this journey that Reg encounters Bug, who, with his pals Maggie the collie and Hunter, the retired police dog, shows Reg the joys and perils of city life.
Plot-wise, “Strays” is straightforward. The dogs bond, frolic around the city, and embark on their mission to find Doug. Their journey is peppered with comedic escapades, intriguing encounters, and personal revelations. But, the film’s crux is the dogs’ dialogue.
“Strays” fully embraces its adult-oriented comedy. it was evident that the mature content was not held back. The script is laden with raunchy humor, and the dialogues are sharp, making for many laugh-out-loud moments. Director Josh Greenbaum also offers visual comedy that complements the narrative. Surprisingly, amidst the humor, the film succeeds in delivering poignant moments, even if they are few and far between.
The film, staying true to its premise of “dogs speaking crudely and behaving badly,” does just that. Yet, beyond the simplistic plot and concept, it impresses with its well-crafted script, endearing characters, and excellent dubbing. I could definitely consider watching it again with friends who appreciate its brand of humor.
As for the trailer, it’s an accurate representation of the movie. If you find the uncensored trailer amusing, the film will likely resonate. If not, it might be best to skip. “Strays” offers a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and it’s up to the audience to decide.
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