‘Strays’ Review: Will Ferrell And Jamie Foxx In A Scrappy, Raunchy, Sweet, R-Rated Talking-Dog Movie – What More Could You Want?

‘Strays’ Review: Will Ferrell And Jamie Foxx In A Scrappy, Raunchy, Sweet, R-Rated Talking-Dog Movie – What More Could You Want?

From Lassie and Rin Tin Tin to 101 Dalmatians, Old Yeller, My Dog Skip, Homeward Bound, A Dog’s Purpose and on and on, the canine genre has been a staple of Hollywood movies for decades. I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone got the idea to make a balls-out, foul-mouthed, R-rated subversion of it all, and finally its time has come with the irresistible Strays, a film definitely not designed as a family movie or for kids but I would bet, despite the language and nonstop dick jokes, they would love it anyway.

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Credit Universal Pictures for not only seeing the potential in a Cocaine Bear this year, but now also with the four pack of lovable down and dirty dogs who hump everything in sight and use four letter words in just about every conversation. Strays is as raunchy as Ted or anything Seth Rogen ever thought of, but fortunately it also has a huge heart, and in the end that is why it works as well as it does. Oh , and also at its center are a group of real and remarkable dogs who light up the screen, along with a perfectly chosen voice cast to help bring them vividly to life.


It all starts with the sweet, ever optimistic Border Terrier, Reggie (Will Ferrell) who believes his human, Doug (Will Forte) loves him but just can’t see what we can. Doug is a total lowlife loser who mistreats the naive Reggie and repeatedly keeps trying to get rid of him by driving him out into desolate areas, throwing a tennis ball, and then speeding away. Reggie always finds his way back until the despicable Doug drops him off in an abandoned building miles away and leaves the poor pup to his own devices. Suddenly he is a confused stray, alone in the city, until coming in contact with the street smart Bug (Jamie Foxx), a tough talking Boston Terrier who thinks it is the humans who are the problem, not the dog as Reggie believes. He soon sets him straight and sets him on his way to a new life with his friends, a smart and sexy Australian Shepherd (Isla Fisher) who has been pushed aside for a new puppy in her family, and a nervous Great Dane named Hunter (Randall Park), an emotional support dog who failed police training and now wears a cone to keep him from anxoiusly chewing on his rather large male appendage.

When Bug finally convinces Reggie that Doug is a total ass, Reggie agrees to join the others on an incredible journey back to Doug’s so that Reg can bite off the guy’s dick. Yes, that is the plot, and along the way there are a number of outrageous sequences that are alternately hilarious, and even a bit harrowing. Poop and dick jokes are the order of the day, but these engaging canine stars make it all believable and highly entertaining to watch. Head Animal Trainer Mark Forbes leads a group of trainers to really deliver wonderful performances from their canine crew, and when the script calls for riskier scenes the VFX team led by Charlie Iturriaga brings it all home with no harm to any animals and (PETA, take note) extreme safety measures in place at all times.

Writer Dan Perrault goes for the gutter in much of the dialogue and situations, but importantly he does not forget the heart of it all, and ultimately we are really rooting for these four legged friends to find happiness and their forever homes. There isn’t a mean bone in Strays except for Forte’s disgusting Doug , and boy does he ever get his in the end, or should I say the front. Director Josh Greenbaum and his production team pull it all off with technical expertise, a real feat since the dogs are the focus for all 93 minutes of this fast moving comedy. Ferrell and Foxx are pitch perfect in their voice work, but Fisher and Park really are the scene stealers on the vocal side. You have to applaud Forte, a genuinely nice guy most of the time, for taking on such an evil guy, but he doesn’t hold back. We hate Doug. Brett Gelman as Willy, an animal control officer, also is appropriately pathetic. Josh Gad, Harvey Guillen, Jamie Demetriou, and Sofia Vergara (as a couch for humping!) are other voices along the way, with a nice turn from Rob Riggle as Rolf, a German Shepherd police dog on the hunt for a missing girl scout. There is also a very brief cameo from a certain A Dog’s Purpose star that gets a big laugh.

Producers are Phil Lord , Chris Miller, Erik Feig, Aditya Sood, Louis Letterier, and Perrault.

Title: Strays
Release date: August 18, 2023
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Screenplay: Dan Perrault
Cast: Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, Brett Gelman, Will Forte, Josh Gad, Harvey Guillen, Rob Riggle, Jamie Demetriou, Sofia Vergara
Rating: R
Running time: 1 hr, 33 mins

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