“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” - J.W. Stephens
It just so happens that exactly four years to the day that I was sitting in a theater waiting for Strays to start, I was in a theater waiting for Good Boys to start playing. I bring this up because both of these movies elicit a similar reaction from me. Good Boys premise, before having seen it, looked like nothing more than a few underage children doing naughty things and saying inappropriate words for ninety minutes. It didn’t leave me excited to see it for no other reason than it looked pointless. Strays left me feeling the same, before I saw it. A bunch of sweet pups swearing and being just generally crass and unbecoming. It left little to be desired. Needless to say I wasn’t exactly anticipating its debut. Maybe somewhere deep down I thought it looked off-putting because I thought I was more mature than a plotline that features nothing more than dogs saying “fuck” and threatening genital mutilation. After about eighty-five minutes I realized something about myself, I’m not. I am not as mature as I hoped I was. God dammit this movie made me laugh. I am ashamed.
I wouldn’t call it riotous, stitches-in-my-side kind of funny but it was at the very least, consistent. It sticks to the premise of stray dogs being adult oriented ne'er-do-wells on a mission to “bite Doug’s dick off.” It is replete with juvenile humor that yes, as I said, made me holler in admiration. It was funny. I couldn’t help myself. At one point the character of Reggie, voiced hilariously by Will Ferrell, humps a gnome and calls it his son and for reasons beyond my control I belly laughed. It would seem for every Citizen Kane or Parasite in my movie collection I have plenty of room for the Strays, Hot Tub Time Machines and jackass forevers of the cinematic world. Oh well, farts make me laugh too in case you were wondering. Sue me.
This is usually the part where I describe the plot but I’m completely serious when I say it’s about dogs swearing and threatening the annihilation of Doug’s dong. Take the sweet talking dog movies perfect for those lovely family movie nights and flip it the fuck on its unassuming head. Voila! Strays.
Will Ferrell leads a voice cast of hysterical comedians and comedic actors. Jamie Foxx is Bug, a couch humping tough guy. Will Forte is the aforementioned and soon to be dickless, Doug. Isla Fisher plays the independent but highly over everyone’s bullshit, Maggie. Randall Park is one of the funniest characters of the movie as Hunter, the biggest dog in the pack but also the biggest wuss in the bunch. Together they are the newly formed stray pack hell bent on reaching Doug’s private parts. In their path is a gloriously ridiculous accumulation of police dogs, dog hookers and devils in the sky. It’s a tough world out there for a dog.
If you too think your humor is far too high brow for such a thing, maybe give it a chance anyway. You might surprise and or disgust yourself. Strays is exactly as promised. It pushes the limits of dog related humor in the same way Sausage Party pushed food related jokes to its breaking point. I wish I could say that with Strays, unlike Sausage Party, it does not feature an orgy but I can’t. Because it does. I told you it’s infantile.
It does attempt moments of sincerity but I think any part of this movie that makes you say “aw” in solemn support is merely from the dog lovers in the audience. It plays on your, dare I say over attachment, to the dogs in your life but I think all dogs do that anyway hence why we let them in our homes and when they eat our shoes we try our hardest not to lose our collective shit. If my mom ate my shoes I’d be concerned for sure but I would also be seriously pissed. Luckily she has never eaten my footwear nor has she ever shown any interest in doing so. So… that’s good.
If you want to laugh for ninety minutes at quite possibly the most immature feature length film of 2023, Strays is your movie. I laughed and I questioned the validity of my supposed age being 34. Don’t get me wrong, I want to laugh at everything that’s funny I just thought maybe, honestly I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen. Storytime - Once when I was younger my favorite uncle Glenn (R.I.P.) came over and dropped the loudest shit in our toilet and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever been in a room for. I guess if I’ve learned anything from Strays it’s that some things never change.
(To clarify, I was in the living room next to the bathroom. I was never in the bathroom at the same time as my uncle as he released his inner demons.)
And now you know entirely too much about me. Lucky you…
Rated R For: pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and drug use
Runtime: 93 minutes
After Credits Scene: Mid-credits, yes.
Genre: Comedy, Adventure
Starring: Will Ferrell (voice), Jamie Foxx (voice), Isla Fisher (voice), Randall Park (voice)
Directed By: Josh Greenbaum
Out of 10
Story: 6/ Acting: 7.5/ Directing: 7/ Visuals: 8
Buy to Own: Eh. Yeah I’ll stick it with the other hopeless comedies.
Check out the trailer below: