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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
 
Strays
| Tuesday, 08.22.2023, 08:57 PM |   (331 views)


Here's the conundrum: how to write a review for a comedy when the thing you most remember and laughed at the hardest, is the barrage of poop, in joke and fecal form.  Starring the voices of Will Ferrell as Reggie, the Border Terrier, and Jamie Foxx as Bug, the Boston Terrier, Strays takes you on a leg-humping, ball-chasing journey of man's best friend. 

Unfortunately for Reggie, his best friend is a useless animal abuser named Doug (Will Forte), whose favorite game with Reggie is called "Fetch and F@ck".  The game: drive Reggie way out of town, throw his favorite ball in some random direction, then hop back into his truck and drive the miles back home.  And every time Reggie manages to find his way back to the house, slipping through the broken screens, Doug screams "F@ck!!!".  

One dark night when Reggie has been completely abandoned by Doug, he meets up with Bug, a street-wise dog-about-town.  Bug takes him to the local dogpark, where they meet up with a pair of friendly canines, Maggie (Isla Fischer), a smart Aussie, and Hunter (Randall Park), an anxious Great Dane stuck in a very unfashionable cone of shame. 

The newly formed pack dispel Reggie of any notion that Doug was a good owner, and they decide to take revenge on him for the way he treated Reggie.  All Reggie wanted, all his life, was to be called a "good dog", and there's no way that would ever happen with an owner like Doug. 

Along the way, we're treated to Animal Control Officers behaving badly, dogs eating their own vomit, as dogs will do, an aerial escape, talking couches, a child lost in the woods and a mushroom-induced hallucination.

Strays sounds ridiculous.  And it is.  But you'll laugh at the bravado and snide asides.  The hours of training the canine stunts took must be recognized and applauded.  You know how hard it is to teach your pup to sit?  Imagine the difficulty in getting four dogs to walk down one street side-by-side and stop to check their pee-mail on a particular lamppost.  Days of discipline and countless treats.  I'm going to guess that the outtakes must be hilarious, so getting the DVD when it's released might be the thing to do. 

Word of warning: Do NOT bring the kiddos.  It's not a family-friendly film.  Also, it appears to infer that the life of a street dog is a wonderful thing.  It's not.  Not by a longshot.  Abandoning a companion animal anywhere is a crime.  

There's a funny bit with Dennis Quaid of the well-loved Marley film series.  He manages to mock himself and that series at the same time.  We all laughed at that as much as we all groaned simultaneously at the vomit-eating.  And the mystery of why humans are bagging the poop is a story the dogs can't seem to unravel... though they're thinking it might be for human chocolate.  They're not sure, because they're never allowed to eat any.  Chocolate is deadly to dogs - please remember that!

A special screening was held in LA this week to celebrate the opening of the raunchy comedy.  Of course, it all went to the dogs!

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In Focus-Magazine.com.  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, the number one nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida.  



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