Stories featuring talking animals is hardly anything new, especially in cinema. Films like “Doctor Dolittle” to “Babe” have delighted family audiences for decades. However, after all this time there has never been an adult only version in this genre. They have always been G and PG rated affairs. There have been other family film concepts that have gone the adult only route, like foul talking puppets, but not pets like dogs. “Strays” now fills in that gap, if there ever was one to start.

Reggie, voiced by Will Farrell loves his owner, Doug (Will Forte). The trouble is Doug is a lousy owner and treats Reggie like garbage. Eventually Doug abandons Reggie, but Reggie is determined to get back to his beloved owner. He makes some new friends that include Bug, voiced by Jamie Foxx, Hunter (Randall Park) and Maggie (Isla Fisher). They teach him the great benefits of a dog being out on their own.

The main driving force behind the comedy “Strays” is that all these dogs curse up a storm. Isn’t that funny? The short answer is sometimes, but mostly not really. It becomes tiring very quickly. There are some cute moments and even some real laugh out loud ones too. The ones that really get you going are not even when the dogs are swearing. It’s a shame they did not try to bring more of those humorous moments into the film.

The special effects in “Strays” is nothing to note. The opening scene shows Reggie chasing after butterflies that looked liked they were created on a home PC. All the dogs speak similarly to the animal in the Oscar winning picture, “Babe”. The dogs mouths open and shut as they talk much in the way humans do. Unfortunately, the movement looks very robotic or the way the mouth open and shuts on a ventriloquist dummy.

“Strays” tried to bring a little emotional core to it as well, but only a small success is accomplished.   Playing sad music on an emotional scene never helps, but it still gets a little inner feelings going. There is nothing really new here. A story that has been told before, just in a R-rated package. Could have been better, but certainly could have been worse.

2 Swords