I want to start this review off by stating this film is a HARD R RATING. Be warned. It’s incredibly foul and its dogs say and doing the foul things. Do not take your children or grandchildren under the impression that this is a fun movie about stray dogs on an adventure. However, is it worth a watch? I remember seeing this trailer a few months ago and genuinely laughed out loud as the main character Reggie (Ferrell) is on an adventure to get back to his terrible owner and enact revenge. I have to tread lightly on how many of the specifics I can say here. Hard R like I said. But, I worried that all of the funny scenes were in the trailer and it would cause for a mediocre movie. So was it?
Onto the film
We open and meet our hero of this journey named Reggie (Ferrell) and as dogs normally do, he LOVES his owner Doug (Forte) He thinks he loves him back and they are best friends, they aren’t. We learn in flashbacks that Doug (Forte) only bought Reggie (Ferrell) to impress his girlfriend. When the girlfriend left, he kept the dog out of spite. Nice job Doug. Terrible!
Doug (Forte) plays a “game” with Reggie (Ferrell) when he continues to say that the dog ruined his life. He takes him in the back of his truck and bring a ball and drives far away, throws the ball, and leaves Reggie (Ferrell) as he goes to retrieve it. Little does Doug (Forte) know….Reggie is smart. He knows how to get home. This happens again and again until eventually Doug (Forte) drive through the city and farther than he ever has and drops the dog off there.
This is where my heart broke a little for this dog. We might have comedic actors voicing them, and their mouths move when they talk but it’s a real dog “acting” Poor little guy.
We then see that Reggie (Ferrell) starts to walk home again but it completely lost, from here he meets a potential new friends named Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx) We then get another voiceover this time by Foxx’s Bug and learn about his life and friends Maggie (Fischer) and Hunter (Park) This is where the film picks up. Reggie (Ferrell) realizes that Doug is terrible, and he wants to go back to the home and “hurt” him to say the least. The new friends decide to join him. Hijinks will be had. I won’t give anymore of the plot away, but it is more surprising than you would think, and I honestly didn’t know where it would go. Would they actually get back to Doug’s?
Here’s what works:
The voice cast and Will Forte as Doug are all really really good. Laugh out loud funny at times. I usually love Will Forte from SNL and MacGruber especially, but he is a terrible human being in this. Great acting for a slimy role. Will Ferrell as the loveable and gullible Reggie brings and you immediately root for him. The other cast members led by Jamie Foxx round the group nicely.
That Cameo! I won’t spoil it.
What doesn’t work:
When the dogs talk, their mouths move. This is done with CGI. It’s pretty distracting and I don’t feel is needed. They could talk and not move their mouths? It’s not a deal breaker but it took me out of it a few times.
Also, the plot is VERY paper thin. All the dogs start in point A and need to go to Point B (Doug’s) sure they do have a few incidents but not a lot.
I was hopeful with the trailers that this would be one of the best comedies of the year. It was unique in a sense to include canines as the main cast but I left feeling underwhelmed. Its watchable but you probably won’t watch it again. The climax is laugh out loud funny and there are a few gags that worked but I smiled more than I laughed. Disappointing on something that should have been a grand slam. If you’re a fan of the cast give this a watch. If you’re a fan of dogs it’s always fun to see movies with them in it. However, I wouldn’t rush to see it. Go see Oppenheimer again before it leaves theaters 2 stars out of 5