Telling those around you that you plan to watch Strays (Vagabonds au Québec), the “film of talking dogs”, is always worth eyeing. Another one of those cheesy, more or less well-dubbed animated films? Not at all, because this deliberately very vulgar comedy is the exact opposite, in the vein of Ted, and one thing remains clear: it is not at all for children.
For what ? In particular because the production seems to have tried to break the record for the number of fucks spoken per minute, wrapping the whole thing in an envelope of pee-poo-dick gags.
A word on the scenario, as plump as a starving greyhound. Reggie (Will Ferrell), an enthusiastic little border terrier, thinks his owner, a two of spades named Doug (Will Forte), adores him. In fact, the latter abhors her and seeks to abandon her. Clinging to the idea that it’s a game, Reggie will meet a trio of strays, Bug the Boston Terrier (Jamie Foxx), Maggie the female Australian Shepherd (Isla Fisher) and Hunter the Great Dane (Randall Park ). The little gang having opened his eyes to Doug’s true nature, he now wishes to find him to “bite his dick”.
The contrast between the cuteness of the dogs and their foul language is the main comic spring of Strays, in a parody of the genre. A few clumps of scenes and lines are frankly funny or amusing, for those who appreciate crude first-degree humor mainly focused on sex, drugs and excrement. However, by dint of betting on it, the formula “assumed vulgarity” ends up getting a little tired.
Moreover, although it gives itself the air of political incorrectness and seeks to make fun of animal films dripping with good feelings, this production is paradoxically imbued with morality. The bad guy is punished, the good guys have won… strange discrepancy between tone and message.
From a technical point of view, a pleasant surprise awaits the viewer, since these “talking dogs” really give the illusion of expressing themselves (at least in their original version). The muzzle animations are pretty convincing – and heaven knows it’s a dangerous game – while the canine actors’ movements and expressions are spot on. Without it, Strays’ interest would have been limited. In the meantime, for those who want greasy, crazy laughter covered in excrement in their bowl, why not?