Strays

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Comedy;
Box Office $23.99 million;
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and drug use.
Stars Will Forte. Voices of Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, Rob Riggle.

The raunchy animal adventure Strays takes aim at countless dog movie tropes with often hilarious results. But the film is also surprisingly effective at wringing some emotional resonance out of its premise.

Will Ferrell voices Reggie, a scruffy border terrier with unconditional love for his owner, Doug (Will Forte). However, Doug despises the idea of taking care of a pet, and only kept the pup to spite an ex-girlfriend who dumped him for cheating on her. When Doug dumps Reggie in a city three hours away, Reggie is determined to return home.

After a few local dogs hear the naïve Reggie’s story, they convince him that he’s been abandoned, leading Reggie to devise a new quest — to return home to teach Doug a lesson by biting off his genitals.

Reggie’s ad hoc pack includes Bug (Jamie Foxx), a tough-talking Boston Terrier; Maggie (Isla Fisher), a glamorous Australian Shepherd whose owner now prefers smaller social-media friendly dogs; and Hunter (Randall Park), a Great Dane who works as a therapy dog at a senior center.

The crux of the film involves the foul-mouthed dogs talking to each other with CG effects to make their lips move, giving the film the feeling of a crude version of Lady and the Tramp. The road trip aspect gives the film an air of Homeward Bound as well, while a couple of well-placed cameos spoof more-recent dog movies such as A Dog’s Purpose.

The jokes don’t always land, but the filmmaking is earnest enough in its intentions to connect with dog lovers who should appreciate the affection the movie has for man’s best friend.

The Blu-ray includes a fun commentary with director-producer Josh Greenbaum and screenwriter-producer Dan Perrault, in which they discuss many of the tricks used to get the dogs at the center of the story to perform as needed to move the story along. For many scenes they just filmed the dogs being dogs and wrote around it.

 Also included are six featurettes totaling 35 minutes of behind-the-scenes material.

The general making of the film is told in the six-and-a-half-minute “The Ultimate Treat: Making Strays”; the five-and-a-half-minute “Training to Be Stray” focuses on how the filmmakers got the dogs to perform;  the six-and-a-half-minute “Poop, Booms, and Shrooms” deals with some practical on-set visual effects; “Talk Like a Dog” is a seven-minute video about the voice cast; “Will Forte, Stray Actor” is a tongue-in-cheek six minute profile of the man behind the film’s primary human character; and “A New Best Friend” is a three-and-a-half-minute piece in which the actors talk about their own dogs, and Greenbaum discusses how he adopted one of the puppies that played young Reggie after their scenes were filmed.

 

‘Tag’ Is It on Digital Aug. 17, Disc Aug. 28

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the action comedy Tag digitally Aug. 17, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 28.

Based on a true story that was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article, the film stars Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner as five competitive friends who have engaged in a no-holds-barred game of tag for one month every year since the first grade.

The cast also includes Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones and Leslie Bibb. The film was earned $54 million at the domestic box office.

The DVD and Blu-ray include a “Meet the Real Tag Brothers” featurette. The Blu-ray will also include deleted scenes and bloopers.