Will Ferrell seems to be back in “Elf” mode here, playing an innocent who wanders into the big wide world and discovers things aren’t exactly as he assumed. For a guy who helped pioneer the modern “man child” archetype in cinema, roles like this are a great way to showcase a more genuine riff on that type of persona, one that’s focused more on heart and emotional resonance than brash or grotesque humor.
(Side note: Please, for the love of all that is good in this universe, can we put like a ten year moratorium on wacky, over-the-top drug trip sequences in studio comedies? They’re never as entertaining as the filmmakers imagine, and it’s seriously starting to feel like writers are just putting these scenes in movies to appease some sort of focus group requirement instead of them being in there as a revealing or necessary part of the story being told. OK, rant over.)
“Strays” is written by Dan Perrault, one of the co-creators of the Peabody Award-winning, cancelled-too-soon Netflix true crime riff “American Vandal” and the surprisingly solid e-sports mockumentary series “Players.” It’s produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The LEGO Movie”), and Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, and Randall Park round out the rest of the main cast.
“Strays” will hit theaters on June 9, 2023.