A Dogs Doo-ty Can Be Hilarious

17th Dallas International Film Festival

By Daniel R. Durrett

There needs to be a return to raunchy humor. Dogs might pull in the parents and kids, but Strays is real, and raunchy, dirty dog humor. Strays is what exalts the stray in all humanity, men, it’s mostly men who can relate. Lost animals, running wild, feeling unabashed, abandoned, and unloved in their life…. with some hidden shame wait. Let’s restate this, anyone and any walk of life, male or female, has felt these pains at some time in their existence. As for the raunchy bits, possibly not so much. But Strays hits on every dirty you can imagine a feral dog might dream up.

Add to that a comedic dream team between Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) and Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Barbie) running ad-libbed riffing to its finest. Like famous jazz musicians of the past, improv dialogues by pros don’t miss a beat on comedy. Josh Greenbaum (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Being Bond) dutifully balances scenes with the almost never used native Australian accent of Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, Confessions of a Shopaholic) as Shepard Maggie and Randall Park (WandaVision, Always Be My Maybe) as the therapy dog Hunter.

Strays is a perverse twist on Incredible Journey (1993) but when you substitute Jamie Foxx for Michael J Fox what would you expect? Any dog-owning adult needs to watch not only for the laughs, but to get to know your dog better.

America takes too much too seriously as of late, and too many got their panties in a wad. And about what? Perceptions and semantics? Everything we deal with on a daily basis … sometimes somebody’s just got to f#cking go get high on mushrooms, and maybe with their dog.

Back to the point. We need a return to raunchy humor. Relax the over- and easily offended tension.

Farrell portrays a dog named Reggie. Poor guy, he still has yet to understand he has been wronged by his owner. His owner, Doug, played Will Forte (MacGruber, Last Man on Earth). Actually, despised is the better word for how his owner feels towards him. His incredible journey is a misunderstood task that grows into a mission, and the little dog syndrome character to jump in along the way is Bug.

Bug is a street-smart Pug/ French Bulldog mix who shows Reggie the ropes of surviving mean streets and takes part in setting Reggie upon his path to revenge. All the weirdness of your childhood smashed into the R-rated humor genre. Bug not only keeps Reggie safe- he also forms a true bond of friendship with his juvenile kindred spirit. Still, this is not quite enough endearment to cover the fact this is NOT FOR KIDS. The greatest point of the movie is being able to attest to its raunchy behavior. When it comes to dogs, most will agree and sigh with a total of “Oh well they don’t know any better” but dogs most certainly do know what they do. Therefore, with that, in so many ways it builds more and more off the rocker, making you laugh at every way dogs can and do misbehave. All through the guise of an R-rated

lens. Isla Fisher wonderfully adds to the group as an Australian shepherd whose bitch’s perspective (meant to take the literal definition of the word ok?). Her talent for accents, American and English, in most of her other films, becomes clear once you hear her native tongue in Strays.

Explosive fun creations happen when artists are allowed to go on spring break, that’s why we have South by Southwest. Obviously, things radically changed from its beginnings. We have survived it. The world is better because of it. These types of creations and celebrations of art in the film allow us to show that man is ever growing but at the same time, we’re the same old dirty bastards from Shakespearean days. Repeating the events Willy did. Shakespeare was always ready for a fart joke and never too serious about his station in society. Raunchiness must stay.

15th Dallas International Film Festival