The dog days are over in terms of tepid comedy, as Strays is every bit as outrageous and X-rated as you'd expect.
How much is that doggy in the window? The one with a red bandana that keeps shagging the garden gnome? Directed by Josh Greenbaum, Strays honors the now-sacred tradition of taking the family movies we hold so dear and completely obliterating them (and our childhoods) with the most obscene, outrageous brand of comedy possible.
Will Ferrell stars as Reggie, a plucky mutt in the thick of a toxic relationship… with his owner, Doug. Reggie’s naivety and relentless optimism for an owner who repeatedly neglects and abuses him provides a lot of the early humor in the film but also offers its audience a rather sobering lesson: why do we keep going back to people who treat us like garbage?
This surprisingly insightful journey of extracting yourself from a toxic relationship is at the heart of Strays, but if you were worried this new movie might verge on preachy, don’t worry. Once Reggie realizes that his owner is, indeed, a piece of shit, he and his new friends resolve to “bite his dick off” — and it’s this journey to maul Doug’s appendage that underpins what is essentially Homeward Bound for grown-ups.
Although Ferrell and Foxx (who plays the plucky stray Bug) only provide their voices for this film, they still build a playful rapport and riff off each other with what feels like natural ease. While Ferrell brings his usual brand of understated patheticness, the Strays promo wasn’t kidding when they said this film would show Jamie Foxx unleashed.
The only thing wilder than Bug’s dialogue are his actions, as the Jamie Foxx-voiced Frenchie paves the way for much of the debauchery that goes on in the film. As the movie goes on, things only get wilder. The gags get more ambitious, and the plot gets more and more outlandish, but the combination of “Oh look, cute dogs!” with moments where you sit there and uttering “WTF” hits that sweet spot.
If you’re a fan of the DCU (Dog Cinematic Universe), then you definitely appreciate Strays. It doesn’t hold back in it’s relentless piss-taking on the likes of A Dog’s Purpose and Marley & Me, but what’s equally as clear is that this is a movie for dog-lovers.
This much is clear from the way little quirks and mannerisms that only a dog person will recognize frequently make their way into the script. And let’s face it — dogs are cute. Even when they’re projectile shitting or peeing in a circle. If nothing else, Strays will make you want to go home, hug your dog, and then give them a bath. Or three.
For more on the 2023 movie, check out our guide on how to watch Strays. And if you like outrageous comedy, you’ll love No Hard Feelings and Cocaine Bear. So, check out our No Hard Feelings review, Cocaine Bear review, and our guide on how to watch No Hard Feelings and how to watch Cocaine Bear.