Strays has enormous potential as an R-rated talking dog movie. Rather than live up to that, it spends 90-minutes letting viewers know they’re watching an R-rated talking dog movie.

Dogs drop f-bombs. They discuss their genitalia. They use their genitalia. That becomes the joke. Over and over and over. In moderation, this carries impact. Strays doesn’t understand that, and watching it is comparable to reading a script written by a hormonal 13-year-old kid who just earned the right to say things that were previously off-limit.

Strays IS that generic talking dog movie, just one without restriction

It’s like Strays is so excited to be (sorry) off the leash, there’s no sense of when to stop. Strays knows how to be funny. Three or four scenes work marvelously well, even in their comic extremes. Trapped inside a dog shelter, the team of four misfit hero hounds devise two plans to escape, both of them hysterically funny for their crudeness. Then it returns to hollow R-rated dialog for the sake of it before finish dog lovers will undoubtedly cheer for, albeit when acknowledging Strays’ ludicrous tone.

Mistakes were made. By whom and what phase of Strays’ development isn’t known. Maybe the voice cast pushed for the repetitive language. Maybe it’s the script. Maybe it’s director choice. Regardless, the end product suffers. It’s similar to Goon, a raw, raunchy, expletive-laden hockey flick undone by a similar freedom afforded by the R-rating. That said, Goon was a better movie.

When Strays tries to have heart (the sappy epilogue) it never works because Strays never establishes a world where anyone is happy. Other than one kid, dog and human alike live with their misery (and only misery). That’s funny in the proper environment, but that’s not Strays. Instead, an entire scene is dedicated to dogs peeing on themselves, because “ha ha, dogs pee on stuff.” Or, “ha ha, dogs hate the mailman,” another joke wasted on anyone over the age of twelve.

In remembering what Strays does, it’s clearer where the issue lies – it’s every generic talking dog movie, played with broader real world circumstances, but Strays never eyes the parody or satire that seems so clear. Instead, Strays IS that generic talking dog movie, just one without restriction, which on paper sounds like a riot. In execution, Strays tanks with only a few exceptions.


Pedestrian, clean digital video shows generally great detail, although sharpness isn’t exciting. Free from nearly all noise, Strays doesn’t challenge the encode at any point. Texture on the dogs and people makes it through uninhibited.

Flat color reproduction rarely sparks any interest. Primaries lack spunk, but Strays has enough potency to appease most viewers.

Contrast and depth rate as Strays best asset, generating deep black shadows in dangerous alleyways and great brightness in sunnier circumstances. That’s great. The rest is just… okay.


DTS-HD hosts the equally fine if unremarkable audio. Stereos split the dialog in spots, revealing some channel separation. The soundstage sees little full use.

The soundtrack rumbles a bit in the low-end. A fireworks display nails the purpose of sound design though, amplifying bass to make the moment truly terrifying for the dogs. They also spread to each speaker.


A commentary from director/producer John Greenbaum and screenwriter/producer Dan Perrault is the deepest bonus here. Six featurettes are generally fluff material, focused on the cast, the dogs, and a general making-of.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

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Strays lives up to none of its enormous potential, trying too hard to shock for every laugh.

User Review
3 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

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