By Marina Gutierrez
Director Josh Greenbaum’s newest cinematic comedy “Strays” is sure to capture the heart of any dog lover.
The movie, which uses real dogs as its characters, follows the story of a dog named Reggie who has been abandoned by his owner.
Reggie befriends another stray named Bug, and the vengeful journey to find his deadbeat owner begins.
The actor who voices Reggie is none other than the comedic genius Will Ferrell. Bug is voiced by the infamous Jamie Foxx. The overwhelming feeling of laughter this movie brings should come as no surprise.
The raunchy nature of this film and its explicit jokes is what makes it much more enjoyable. It is sad to say, but it is not unusual for a dog to be neglected by an owner.
But how many get the chance to take their fellow dog friends and set off on a revenge mission to rip off their former owner’s genitals?
Hence the reason why behind every absurd punchline is a little sprinkle of truth disguised as playful comedy.
For a viewer, the topic and portrayal of animal abuse can be a hard pill to swallow. Greenbaum uses dark humor to lightheartedly bring attention to the effect neglect can have on an animal.
What is to be appreciated about this dialogue is not its obscene jokes, but rather its playful, lightweight context used to bring awareness to such an important topic.
While watching, viewers can’t help but pity Reggie for his complete oblivion to his own mistreatment. Ironically, it seemed as if Reggie’s owner was oblivious to just how cruel his own actions were as well.
As are many abusers of this world, unaware and in denial of any pain being inflicted. Similar to those who get abused, Reggie does not understand that he deserved better than the unfathomable treatment his owner gave him.
Reggie’s quest for revenge also leads him to a self-discovery journey. Time spent with himself and time spent being surrounded by those who truly love him helps Reggie learn his worth.
Although this particular movie tells the story of an abused dog, his healing process was not too far off from our own human experiences.
A dog’s love is unconditional, even when we humans don’t deserve it. While Reggie’s true feelings are masked by such outlandish conversations and actions, the pain he feels is a pain many animals have been forced to familiarize themselves with.
A movie that makes its viewers literally burst into laughter while still illustrating something as intense as animal neglect, is a movie that is worth being applauded.
As the end credits roll, a realization will occur. Beyond the humor, beyond the mistreatment of animals, this movie is for all the “Reggie’s” of the world.
For those who are too afraid to value themselves.
For those not strong enough to remove toxicity from their life.
For those who fear being alone.
For anyone who makes it through a hard time in their life by using the simplicities of dark humor.
Whether you resonate most with the animal abuse aspect or the standing up for yourself aspect, we should all strive to be like Reggie and grab whatever obstacles life throws at us by the genitals and never give up.