A Divalicious Review! Diva Guy Hassan Wiggins Reviews New Live-Action Comedy: Strays

By   |   August 24, 2023   |   Entertainment
Reggie (Will Ferrell), Maggie (Isla Fisher), Hunter (Randall Park) and Bug (Jamie Foxx) in "Strays." Universal Pictures

Our newest contributor Hassan Wiggins reveals the new live-action comedy, Strays, now playing in theaters.

Strays, starring Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx​, follows a pack of four dogs on their way to take revenge on an abusive owner. A lighthearted comedy or a narrative for those who are neglected but ​h​ang around for comfort? It’s a bit of both.

Stray​s is one of the very few comedy films that have been released so far in 2023, with a strange but welcoming twist. The film uses a majority of live animals cast on screen. Films like A Dog’s Purpose and ​Dr. Do​little used real animals to tell their stories; Strays adds itself to the list proudly. Though the film isn’t a pioneer in this genre of live-action comedy, it executes it flawlessly compared to most movies within the trope.

Strays surprisingly use​s little to no CGI. “I would say about 95 percent of the film is just real dogs,” Director Josh Greenbaum shared with The AU Review. It’s only for things such as the muzzle of the dogs moving to simulate accurate speaking scenes. At the expense of tussling with animals to be actors, the film produces a raw dog experience that isn’t only believable but heartfelt.

A testament to the battles faced after leaving an abusive relationship​ while upholding classic comedy expectations like references and foul-mouthed characters, Strays speaks subtly to people in a similar relationship through its main character, Reggie.​ He’s traveling with a pack ​of dogs, voiced by Ferrell, along with Randall Park and Isla Fisher, ​as they journey through the city. Strays makes it clear that the fight isn’t always over when someone removes themselves from a toxic situation. ​ A lot of the film represents the internal battle after leaving a relationship that was detrimental, but comfortable.

Without spoiling too much, watching Strays simultaneously serves as a triumphant film with comedic undertones. ​A large portion of its run time explores the feeling of unease when you​ are on your own after removing yourself from toxic environments and people. Reggie and the crew meeting multiple points of conflict is a realistic experience, as is questioning if it’s worth staying in an abusive relationship just to “have someone.​”
​Using the mask of stray dogs was genius for revealing an honest and painful truth.

Don’t be deterred, Strays remains a great comedy nonetheless. I found myself laughing hysterically at times. What’s incredible about the film is that even while keeping serious undertones, it remains lighthearted and enjoyable. Lots of comedy films might strive away from addressing issues in the real world, let alone balance them to make a fruitful film in all aspects. Strays manages and does it excellently.

Strays could possibly be the comedy film to reinvent the genre and open the doors to addressing emotional topics while upholding lighthearted moods. Many people resonate with films that align with their everyday struggles and experiences. Comedies adapting this structure​ may allow people to see enjoyment and hope in their respective situations. Rather than rewatching your favorite depressive romance trope, you can turn on a comedy and look toward the positive in life. Laughter can be healing, after all.

Filed Under: Entertainment
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