Strays review: “You’ll be wishing you were Homeward Bound yourself”

A swearing dog voiced by Will Ferrell is funny – once. A swearing dog voiced by Jamie Foxx is funny – once. Having set up its ribald premise, however, Strays – an R-rated riposte to such talking-pooch heart-stirrers as 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, complete with cameos from that film’s stars – has to relentlessly and tiresomely up the ante, plastering the screen with so many peeing, pooping, and humping tail-waggers it feels more like A Dog’s Porno. 

Will Forte sets the tone early on as Ferrell’s horrible owner, a nut-scratching serial masturbator who, when not shaving his balls, meanly throws one for Ferrell’s Reggie to chase before going home without him. When the deadbeat Doug finally manages to dump his unwanted pet in the city, Reggie falls in with a scrappy Boston Terrier (Foxx) who, with help from two fellow outcasts (an Australian Shepherd and Great Dane voiced by Isla Fisher and Randall Park respectively), teaches him how to survive and thrive on the streets. Eventually, though, Reggie realises how poorly he’s been treated and resolves to give Doug a dose of his own medicine. Oh, and also bite off the ‘custard launcher’ he values so highly. 

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