EVERYONE loves a cute dog pic.

From Lassie and Beethoven to 101 Dalmatians and Turner and Hooch, man’s best friend has long endured at the family friendly multiplex. There’s just something infectious about puppy dog eyes being amplified across the biggest of screens for maximum adorability.

This week sees the release of Strays, a furry new comedy from Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar director Josh Greenbaum. A script by Dan Perrault initially recalls the premise of Charles Martin Smith’s 2019 heart-warmer A Dog’s Way Home but soon veers down a very different alley. Be warned, family friendly Strays is not.

Will Ferrell leads the film, voicing a lovably bouncy border terrier called Reggie. Sweet little Reggie is devoted to his owner - Will Forte’s Doug - and loves nothing more than a good game of fetch. So far, so PG.

For all his charm and energy, however, Reggie is both extraordinarily gullible and entirely ignorant of Doug’s abusive tendencies and obvious hatred of animals. It is only with the intervention of a group of streetwise strays, having himself been abandoned, that Reggie finally cottons on. Strays is not a family friendly adventure flick. There’s no emotional reunion to be found here. This is a raucous, adults only revenge comedy.

Joining Ferrell, fellow strays are voiced here by Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher and Randall Park. Listen out too for Frozen’s Josh Gad, Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara and Staff Lets Flats’ Jamie Demetriou.

The comedy here won’t be for everyone. It’s lowest common denominator material for fans of Ted and Borat. That’s not to undersell the gag rate, which is high, but forewarn of unabashed crudity. Once awakened to his lived experience, Reggie’s driving force through the film is a want to bite off a very specific part of Doug’s anatomy. That’s the bar.

While CGI is deployed widely in the film - to animate speech and for a set piece involving a bird of prey - real dogs fill the screen to joyful effect. For all its crass intentions, Strays can’t help but wheel back into more heartfelt territory as the climax nears. No, this one is not for younger dog lovers but it does tap into the bond that we never grow out of.

Everyone loves a cute dog pic. Not just the kids.