Puppy love: Abandoned terrier Reggie gets it on in ‘Strays’.
STRAYS **1/2 (93 minutes) MA
The unconditional love we typically see between dogs and their owners is turned on its head in Strays, a foul-mouthed, sporadically funny, adult-oriented talking-dog comedy where a yappy pooch is persuaded by a gang of fellow canines to exact some pretty graphic revenge.
Though subjected to repeated abuse by his unemployed, pot-smoking loser of an owner Doug (Will Forte), terrier Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) interprets repeated attempts to get rid of him as a fun game where he has to find his way home after being driven and dumped far away.
Finding himself lost in an alley Reggie is befriended by stray dogs Bug (Jamie Foxx), Hunter (Randall Park) and Maggie (Isla Fisher) who reveal the truth about his mistreatment and convince him to return home and inflict some serious injury.
Opting for vulgarity over wit, Strays is a novelty film that delivers a decent laugh ratio, though the amount of jokes based on dog excrement might prove too much even for fans of scatological humour.
Running at around 80 minutes (without credits) it’s an appropriately swift jaunt with plenty of gags celebrating the canine sex drive, including one very funny scene involving a garden gnome.
To be overly picky about a film that doesn’t really invite any narrative scrutiny, it is a tad didsappointing that the film’s obvious stand against animal cruelty isn’t matched with similar concern about cruelty against humans.
Doug might be a nasty wreck but the comeuppance he is subjected to seems way overdone and leaves the film with a somewhat bitter aftertaste.
The story hints to the possibility of redemption for Doug, but the quest for revenge ultimately reigns supreme. One can only speculate whether the screenplay had a few drafts to go before going into production.