Strays (2023) Movie Review & Summary: Who Let The Dogs Cuss?

Do Share
Strays (2023) Movie Review & Summary: Who Let The Dogs Cuss? - The Movie Culture

Written by Dan Perrault and directed by Josh Greenbaum, Strays is a unique ‘adult’ take on pet movies. It was released in the United States of America and Canada on August 18, 2023. Current reports mention that the comedic film has crossed $30 million but had a budget of $46 million.

Absurd gags and dog points of view dominate the film such that dog poop become ingredients for chocolates. The use of music, the atmosphere, and even the trash-talk of certain strays is straight outta the hood: depicting how they are at the bottom of the dog hierarchy. Strays is a reminder about how a good pet parent should be and how the feelings of respect must be mutual.

Strays Movie Cast

  • Will Ferrel as Reggie the Terrier
  • Jamie Foxx as Bug the Boston Terrier
  • Isla Fischer as Maggie the Australian Shepherd
  • Randall Park as Hunter the Great Dane
  • Rob Riggle as Rolf the German Shepherd police dog

Strays Movie Plot & Summary

‘Strays’ captures the toxic relationships between humans and their dogs. Some keep them as pets to assert control like Doug while others neglect them after their needs are fulfilled, similar to Jenna. Reggie loves his owner unconditionally but mistakes his abuse and hatred as playfulness. That is until Doug drives his pet in a neighborhood city and ditches him in an alley.

When Reggie is about to be attacked by a couple of strays, Bug scares them away with his maniacal antics. The two Terriers become friends and Bug tells Reg the harsh truth: that his owner had abandoned him and he was on his own. Bug then introduces his new friend to Maggie, whose owner Jenna preferred Bella the Rottweiler for her cuteness, and Hunter, a therapy dog for an old age home who was formerly in the police.

The quartet, disillusioned by their owners, assists Reggie in his mission to find his way home to bite off Doug’s favorite toy –  his genitalia. They traverse dilapidated towns, steal leftover food from parties for survival, and encounter various other fauna that bewilders their innocent selves. All the while, they make gags on sex, humping, and classic dog behavior.

During the paced development of the story, there comes a time when Reggie second-guesses himself. The Terrier finds itself at fault for not being able to garner love from its owner. The story ends with Reg finally being able to return to Doug’s place in Oakwood with the ‘fetch’ ball, although his owner wants none of it…

Strays Movie Review

Right off the bat, Strays comes off as a raunchy movie. Reggie tells the viewers how he would have liked to switch places with Doug’s genitalia to get more attention and care. More explicit jokes are made following the introduction of Bug – who is the soul of the story given how he marshals the group as well as drops truth bombs with his foul mouth.

Strays has an R-Rating and for good reason. No amount of parental guidance can explain coarse language or sexual jokes to children who love movies about pets. It also becomes somewhat problematic for the film. While most of the punchlines garner giggles, a few fail to deliver. Also note that the movie is strictly made for those dog lovers who understand their pets’ tropes like peeing in objects, humping sofa legs, and hating the mailman. 

The comedy could be silly and a certain section of the audience will need to bear the discussions around poop, humping, and “biting someone’s d*** off.” It needs some light-heartedness from us human viewers, especially when a Labrador tells us that nobody hears its ‘story’ on how its owner is a cold-blooded serial killer with three bodies in his backyard or when the main story quartet massacres a burrow of bunnies while hallucinating.

The voiceovers, acting, and direction have been brilliant in a story that basically writes itself. Will Forte elicits the audience’s hatred as Doug with every aspect of his being. While flashbacks and the constant usage of ‘F***!’ word show the distaste for his dog, a few revelations make the audience truly shocked about Doug’s mindset such as Reg revealing that he almost passed out by exhaustion when his owner left him locked in the car during the summers.

What was Reggie’s mistake? He presented evidence to Doug’s ex-girlfriend that he was cheating. Ironically, the Terrier got his name from the ex-gf. ‘Strays’ is not only run by Reggie’s vengeance but also by the sexual tension between Maggie and Hunter and Bug’s struggle to find humans trustworthy after one mistake prompted his owners to send him to Animal Control.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

It is intriguing that a film with foul-mouthed dogs does a better job of describing a toxic relationship between a pet and its owner than other movies like Pets Life. Strays could’ve been a movie that only focused on the characters talking sh** and making sex jokes like Sausage Party but the plot does lose hold of the main objective: get Reggie it’s justice.

The comedy is cheeky to the extent that there are fourth-wall breaks and name-drops that draw comparisons. When Reggie first meets Bug, he tells him about “a dog’s purpose” – a movie on how a dog didn’t forget its owner even after three generations – Strays being its antithesis. Doug breaks the fourth wall during the ending when he claims that he feels like he is in a dog movie. Although it broke the tension, the subtly is appreciated.

Will Farrell and Jamie Fox do an excellent job as the main comedic duo of Reggie and Bug. Isla Fisher and Randall Park bring about the personalities of Maggie and Hunter. The cast is full of talented voice actors who have a cherished history in the comedic genre – making it a must-watch for all dog lovers around the world.