In “Strays,” Josh Greenbaum takes a potentially hilarious subject like the quirks of our canine companions and reduces it to a series of crude and juvenile gags centered around bodily functions. While dogs are known for their endless comedic antics, including their curious fascination with each other’s rear ends and unpredictable bathroom habits, this film seems to limit its portrayal of canine humor to just these aspects.
The story revolves around Reggie (played by Will Ferrell), an endearing scruffy terrier who forms an unlikely bond with a motley crew of four-legged friends while grappling with the abandonment he faces. “Strays” heavily relies on gross-out humor and a prepubescent obsession with bodily fluids, placing it in a tonal space similar to films like “Sausage Party” and “Ted.” This choice in tone might predominantly resonate with a specific audience segment, likely those with a penchant for stoner humor, thanks in part to an extended sequence where Reggie and his pals, including a profanity-laden Boston terrier, a collie, and an anxious great Dane, consume magic mushrooms with chaotic results.
In any other circumstance, reducing a film to the clichéd phrase “a dog’s dinner” would seem unimaginative, but given the film’s frequent indulgence in canine gross-out antics, it feels strangely fitting in this instance.