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Strays Review: Is This Film More Than Just Bark?

Thank you for checking out our Strays Review. In the vast realm of Hollywood’s canine chronicles, where Lassie, Benji, and Homeward Bound have left their paw prints, “Strays” emerges as another addition to the cool pack of dog-centered movies. This flick dives into the world of our furry friends, exploring their quirks and adventures beyond their human companions. But is this film more than just a bark?

The heart of the story lies with Reggie (Will Ferrell), a wide-eyed, blissfully hopeful Border Terrier. Abandoned on the rough city streets by his unscrupulous owner Doug (Will Forte), Reggie clings to the belief that his beloved human would never intentionally leave him behind. However, Reggie’s path takes a turn when he crosses paths with Bug (Oscar winner Jamie Foxx). Bug is a fast-talking, foul-mouthed Boston Terrier. Bug’s philosophy is simple: freedom reigns supreme, and owners are for suckers. As Reggie joins Bug’s ranks, he begins to see his past relationship with Doug for what it truly was—a toxic mess.

Set on revenge, Reggie teams up with Bug and their furry companions. Maggie (Isla Fisher), is an intelligent Australian Shepherd sidelined by a new puppy. Hunter (Randall Park) is an anxious Great Dane serving as an emotional support animal. Together, they embark on a wild adventure, fueled by Reggie’s determination to make Doug pay, even if it means taking a not-so-pleasant bite out of the appendage he cherishes most (hint: it’s not his foot).

The Good

Strays Review Movie The Movie BlogRight off the leash, “Strays” boasts a voice cast that’s nothing short of delightful. This ensemble of vocal talents injects energy and charisma into the characters, bringing the four-legged protagonists to life with undeniable charm. Barking up the right tree, the voice cast shines, lending personality to our four-legged protagonists. Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx cleverly lead the humor from the quirks of dogs, turning peculiar habits like poop munching and furniture humping into laugh-out-loud moments. Even mail delivery folks get their fair share of playful jabs. If you are a dog owner and have a colorful imagination of your dog’s life outside of you, this is the movie for you.

The movie maintains a sprightly pace, keeping tails wagging with engaging momentum from start to finish. The writing’s magic lies in its light-heartedness within the R-rated boundaries. Picture this: a blend of family values and life lessons, seasoned with a generous sprinkling of frat humor. Surprisingly, the mix works like a charm. In the realm of humor, the film shines with its clever comedic execution. “Strays” navigates the whimsical world of dogs’ peculiar habits—yes, even the less glamorous ones like dining on unmentionables, indulging in furniture “enthusiasm,” and expressing their disdain for mail carriers really well. The movie playfully spins these behaviors into a web of laughs that tickles even the most discerning funny bone.  A heartwarming note to start, no actual dogs faced any harm during the filmmaking process—phew!

The Bad

Strays Review Movie The Movie BlogHere’s the twist: “Strays” comes with an R-rating for language, but it’s like they tiptoed around the edge of what they could do. The film didn’t quite go all-out with its adult-themed potential, and that’s a bummer. Instead, it plays it relatively safe, missing opportunities to embrace its adult-oriented label. There are teases that the movie will really push the boundary but they’re not fulfilled. While “Strays” earns its rated R badge for its colorful vocabulary, it’s tough to accept that it chooses not to fully explore the boundaries of its adult-oriented content. The film skirts the edge of what it could potentially achieve, opting for a more restrained approach instead of fully embracing its raunchy potential.

One of the more noticeable hiccups lies in the characters themselves. While our furry friends in “Strays” are indeed unique with their colorful vocabulary, they still bear the hallmarks of typical animal protagonists seen in kids’ shows or movies. Yes, our furry leads are a lot like those you’d find in a kids’ show—except they cuss. A lot. And yeah, there’s some mild drug use, but that’s about it. This raises the question: who’s the audience here? It’s like “Strays” can’t decide whether it’s a full-on adult comedy or something more family-oriented. This raises a curious question: who is the intended audience for this cinematic romp? The film teeters between two worlds—engaging in heavy swearing and touching upon mild drug use—yet holding back from the more audacious levels of debauchery that could have provided a more cohesive identity.

Overall

Okay, let’s sum it up. “Strays” is a decent watch. It scratched my itch for a dog-centric movie and kept me entertained. But here’s the thing—it’s got an identity crisis. It plays like it wants to be an edgy, grown-up film, but it’s holding back. Swearing and a few well-placed jokes aimed at millennials are its main acts of rebellion, but they don’t quite hit the mark.

Still, In the end, “Strays” provides a decent dose of entertainment and laughter. So, grab your popcorn and your furballs, and dive into the world of “Strays.” It’s a peculiar cocktail that has the potential to tickle the funny bones of millennials while sparking some thoughtful reflection on the nuances of family dynamics. So, gather your furry companions and dive into the world of “Strays,” where barks, bites, and belly laughs intertwine to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Strays Review: Is This Film More Than Just Bark?
  • Acting - 6/10
    6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
    6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
    7/10
  • Watchability - 8/10
    8/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
6.8/10
6.8/10
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