A potty-mouthed parody of schmaltzy family favourites – Strays review | Films | Entertainment

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Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx take a bite out of the mutt movie in a potty-mouthed parody of schmaltzy family favourites A Dog’s Purpose and Homeward Bound.

Director Josh Greenbaum uses real canine actors, seamless CGI and clever voice casting to tell the story of Reggie (Ferrell), a cute Border Terrier who is hopelessly devoted to his abusive owner Doug (Will Forte).

When Doug’s girlfriend left him, he took custody of Reggie out of spite.

Now, surrounded by half-eaten takeaways, the loser is desperate to be alone. But attempts to dump the adorable pooch in woodland fail to break Reggie’s resolve to get home.

To him, this is a great new game called “Fetch And F***”. Doug shouts the former when he throws a ball for Reggie then drives off in his car. He groans the asterisked bit when a determined Reggie finds his way back to his house.

At the end of his tether, Doug drives for two-and-a-half hours for the next round. On a syringe-laden industrial estate, Reggie falls in with a fast-talking, foul-mouthed Boston Terrier named Bug (Foxx).

The stray tries to teach him the joys of his new-found freedom and convince him that Doug is far from a dog’s best friend. After meeting nervous therapy dog Hunter (Randall Park) and neglected German Shepherd Maggie (Isla Fisher), Reggie has an epiphany.

Doug will never call him “a good boy”. He is a very bad man. So he will find his way back to his house and bite off Doug’s favourite appendage (it’s not his nose).

The hairy pals excitedly agree to help. On the way, director Greenbaum plays with other movie staples. A trip to the dog pound becomes a prison break, a brush with a fireworks display is shot like a war movie. There’s even a psychedelic sequence where our hungry heroes scoff wild mushrooms.

But the buzz wears off in the second half. As the script resorts to increasingly laboured gags about humping and poo, you suspect Strays may have worked better as a sketch.

Strays, Cert 15, In cinemas now

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