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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Alex Reviews "Strays"

When a film has deep meaning and subtle undertones, it almost requires your full undivided attention to appreciate all of its meaning and brilliance. Strays is not that movie. It asks you to check your brain at the door, grab your preferred refreshment, and be prepared for an uncomfortable comedy that the inebriated will be sure to enjoy. There will be some laughs, but even more uncomfortable situations.

Reggie (Will Ferrell) is a happy little dog naïve to the world and believes his owner is the best person ever. That is until Doug (Will Forte) leaves him in an alley far from home with no intention of seeing him again. Reggie befriends a stray dog who teaches him the ways of living the best life that street dwelling can provide before Reggie decides that it is time for revenge on the man who abandoned him.

Strays might be the most expensive low-budget movie ever as I’d bet that almost all of its reported $46 million went to the actors with about $200 going to sets and animation. Although there are small sections animated incredibly well, it falls flat throughout the picture.

Aside from Jamie Foxx and the live cameo, all of the performances are either lazily delivered or so over the top that it almost feels like an attempt to out ham the ridiculous script. For as much talent as is involved in this movie, that is a sad realization.

The material is darker than it needs to be (especially for animal lovers), and the humorous moments do not carry enough weight to save it. The story is so loose that it would best be described as a first draft that nobody cared about enough to clean up. It often feels like the entire thing was an improv exercise in getting stoned and coming up with as many insane bits based around dogs as possible.

On a positive note, the animal actors, trainers, and wranglers nailed every beat of the movie as presented. Each aspect of behavior delivered on a greater scale than every other portion of the narrative. If this movie were solely on the talent of the animal teams, I would be interested in watching it again. The process that must be involved is staggering to imagine.

Unfortunately, Strays is not focused on the filmmaking process but is a sophomoric and lazy attempt at a comedy that will succeed on the name recognition involved for a single run and will pop up on streaming faster than one should expect. Even then, do not let children see this picture no matter how much they want to see the dogs.

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