Strays – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Strays – Of Barks and Bites: It’s a Dog Thing

There are many ways that a film can grip the audience.  When we take that journey (on the big screen), we hope the right chord is struck for a fun experience.  When it comes to comedy films, humor is as spastic as the genre (itself).  If a filmmaker can bring out the laughs … then the film has a chance to strike gold.  In this review, I look at a new comedy film.  Following the story of animals, it is a mix bag of crude humor in familiar tropes.  Even with a simple story, Strays is a raunchy display of humor and heart from Man’s Best Friend.

This is a story about a dog named Reggie (Voiced: Will Ferrell) and his quest for vengeance against Doug (Will Forte), his former owner.  In the beginning, we are first introduced to Reggie, Doug, and the rocky relationship between pet and pet owner.  After a series of juvenile scenes, lazy jokes and predictable one-liners, Doug abandons Reggie to the streets.  With no home, Reggie runs into another ‘lone’ dog by the name of Bug (Voiced: Jamiee Foxx).  Their encounter leads to an interesting dynamic of the ‘teacher/student’ motif, as Bug shows Reggie how to live without an owner.  With the film refocusing on the animals, the comedic elements start to move into a creative direction.  Instead of relying mostly on cheap gimmicks, the filmmakers smartly mix raunchy moments, crude humor, and wholesome dialogue within dog-like interactions.  Once Reggie understands the reality of the situation, he decides he wants to get vengeance on Doug.  He enlists the help of Bug, Hunter (Voiced: Randall Park) and Maggie (Voiced: Isla Fisher) as they head back to his home to enact his plan.  From this point, the story begins to mix humor within a quest-like motif.  With this merger, the journey continues to evolve from a generic comedic script to a dynamic of adult humor from the dog’s perspective.  This adds a level of indifference to the archetypes, showcasing unique banter within moments of comradery.  As the journey continues to build characterization within the crude/raunchy humor, it subtly showcases a dynamic of fragility.  This leads to a layer of heart, providing some levels intrigue to the quest as you continue to laugh.

As the dogs begin to learn something unique about themselves, it leads to moments of ‘self-reflection’ that provide levity in-between raunchy/crude humor.  Once they reach their destination, heavy foreshadowing leads to a hilarious confrontation/climax and a wholesome epilogue.  Strays has a lot of convenient setups, lazy one-liners and forced cameos, but the quest is enough to hit that golden button of laughs.  If you are a fan of raunchy comedies, dogs, or quest like films, this is one for you.  I say it is worth seeing on the big screen, at the right price.   

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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