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Strays is foul-mouthed fun

Two comedy giants (Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell) team up for the summer's latest R-Rated comedy in Strays from Universal Pictures. Josh Greenbaum directs while Dan Perrault pens the film's screenplay. A naive but lovable dog named Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is abandoned on the mean city streets by his lowlife owner, Doug (Will Forte), whose girlfriend recently left him.

Reggie quickly falls in with a fast-talking, foul-mouthed Boston Terrier named Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx) and his gang of strays, including Maggie (Isla Fisher) and Hunter (Randall Park). After learning about the joys of being a stray and now determined to seek revenge, Reggie and his new canine friends embark on an epic adventure to get him home and pay back Doug for his dirty deed.

A fellow critic described Stays as ideally an R-rated take on the ninety's family favorite Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. In hindsight, I agree with this analogy; however, parents, be sure to take heed of the R rating as this is not a movie for little ones. Strays setup is simple enough, and after seeing the film's trailer, I initially thought it would take the route of a buddy comedy focusing on two dogs.

Foxx and Farrell deliver the laughs rapidly, with one-liner coming in one after the other. Fisher, Park, and Forte get a chance to drop some quotable lines, but primarily this film belongs to Will and Jamie, with both bringing the comedy skills they display in human roles.

The animal characters have unique traits and personalities, allowing them to come alive and enabling the audience to empathize with their struggles and aspirations. Maggie is a social media influencer's dog, whereas Hunter is a former police academy dog that has become a support dog. Fisher and Foxx, much like Farrell, excel at depicting the animals' emotions, injecting their roles with depth and humor. Additionally, Josh Gad makes a brief vocal appearance, so stay alert.

Strays elicit emotions, skillfully blending humor and heart-wrenching moments (for animal lovers) to create an impactful cinematic experience. It imparts valuable lessons on family, friendship, and perseverance, regardless of the audacity of your goals. The film's cinematography is also noteworthy, capturing urban and rural landscapes.

Although I don't anticipate Strays becoming a timeless classic with enduring appeal, the movie is a harmless and enjoyable R-rated comedy that's worth watching even if you're not an animal lover.

Final Grade: B

Strays opens in theaters tonight.

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