Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a sweet, tiny, cuddly dog. Sadly, Reggie’s owner, Doug (Will Forte), hates him passionately and often blames him for his failures in life. No matter how hard Doug tries to get rid of Reggie, Reggie always finds a way back home, not fully understanding that Doug has no interest in keeping him. One day, Doug drives out of town, tricking Reggie into a game of fetch and drives off, leaving Reggie behind. At first, Reggie thinks that Doug is just playing another game with him and taking things to a whole new level, so he begins to find his way back home.
While roaming the city streets on his way home, Reggie meets another small dog named Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx). Bug is a foul mouth, fast-talking dog, and he’s a Stray with plenty of street knowledge on how to get by. When Bug meets the lost and confused Reggie, he openly tells him that his owner has dumped him, and now he is a Stray dog. Reggie tries to remain positive and doesn’t take this news lightly. But soon, he claims vengeance against his past owner Doug, even more so when he realises and discovers that Doug is highly toxic and horrible. Soon, Reggie and Bug are joined by more Strays, including Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher) and Hunter (voiced by Randall Park). Together they all journey back to Reggie’s home to dish out some justice upon Doug. Naturally, they find themselves in large amounts of trouble along the way.
For those unaware, Strays is not a kid’s movie (Adults be warned!). Instead, Strays is a raunchy and naughty comedy filled with large amounts of foul language and countless random jokes about body parts, sexual references, and, most importantly, plenty of humping and poop gags. While some gags are successful at generating the odd loud laugh or at least a giggle, sadly, there are also jokes here that feel repetitive and, at times, exhausting or tiresome.
The voice cast is excellent, and Will Ferrell successfully brings a character to life that is innocent and entirely unaware of being mistreated. When Doug is harsh towards him, Reggie continually thinks it’s a positive act. When Reggie’s heart and mind begin to change dramatically, and he begins to say naughty things, you can’t help but be surprised and shocked, as well as laugh. However, the character Bug entirely steals the film for me. Every line delivery from this character was quick, witty, and highly foul-mouthed, and Foxx carries most of the film’s crude and sexual talk, which resulted in plenty of loud laughs and jaw-dropping moments. Isla Fisher as Maggie and Randall Park as Hunter are also pleasing. All four leading dogs are highly different in personality, and they work well on-screen, with tremendous and believable chemistry. Actor Will Forte as Doug is fantastic as a grubby, dirty character who is fully disinterested in looking after Reggie in any capacity. He also managed to deliver some solid lines.
The visual effects here are impressive and great. The dogs talking crudely and having their adventure on the road is well done, with only a few moments of CGI that didn’t quite feel right, but the vast majority is outstanding. The various audio scores and songs are well-fitted and often used well to help obtain laughs from audiences.
Overall, if you’re seeking a raunchy comedy with cute and loveable dogs, look no further. Strays is filled with plenty of naughty jokes, foul one-liners, and jokes surrounding dogs humping and doing stinky poos. The concept is terrific, and the voice cast is excellent, particularly Jamie Foxx as Bug. The leading characters have strong chemistry, and the visuals of dogs talking and getting into severe amounts of mischief are great for most of the duration. Regarding the gags and the laughs, the results here will vary. I found it nearly impossible not to grin or chuckle at various times, but sadly, some jokes are also repetitive, becoming a little exhausting and predictable, and some gags didn’t work for me. Strays will win your heart if you enjoy films like Sausage Party or Ted. You may even be convinced to adopt a Stray dog after the credits.
Strays (2023) is Available in Australian Cinemas from August 17th.