5 Movies About Dogs That Are Actually Funny

Unlike ‘Strays,’ these dog-centric films shouldn’t be put down
5 Movies About Dogs That Are Actually Funny

Strays, the new R-rated comedy about a litter of potty-mouthed dogs who embark on an adventure to exact revenge on an animal-hating, dog-abandoning scumbag played by Will Forte, has been catching strays from critics who very much don’t like it. (That’s our attempt at a Strays pun without making it dog-related — you know, so we can pretend that we’re above such things.) Even with comedic star power like Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx, Paste went so far as to say it should have been “put down.” (Woof — okay, we couldn’t help ourselves.)  

Anyway, it’s not that dogs can’t be funny on-screen. Just that Strays isn’t particularly good at it. Here are five hilarious movies with a heavy canine emphasis as proof…

Turner and Hooch


Some of the best detective work happens in twos. Holmes and Watson. Cagney and Lacey. Benson and Stabler. And in this 1989 Tom Hanks’ film, Turner and his canine pal Hooch. Admittedly, the movie tests the limits of pairing an unlikely duo together — a by-the-books detective and a recently orphaned Dogue de Bordeaux — to solve a murder. But it worked well enough that it spawned a television special sequel as well as a legacy sequel Disney+ series.

Homeward Bound

There are a handful of films that are intended for children but end up transcending intention and touching the hearts of anyone who watches them. Disney’s 1993 remake of The Incredible Journey certainly qualifies. Homeward Bound follows two dogs and a cat, voiced by Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche and Sally Field, as they go on a perilous journey through the California wilderness to reunite with their owners, who unbeknownst to the dogs are simply on vacation. The film plays to, as well as subverts, the stereotypes of various breeds, in this case the stubborn bulldog, the valiant golden retriever and the sassy Himalayan cat.

Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson reunited with some of his familiar collaborators, including Bryan Cranston and Bill Murray, to tell the story of dogs who are banished to Trash Island because of a corrupt mayor and a canine flu outbreak becoming potentially contagious to humans. The film volleys between misadventure and political commentary to craft a tale that’s ultimately about the inseparable bond between man and man’s best friend. 

As Good As It Gets

What if this is as good as it gets? That’s the famous question in the film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson as Melvin, a misanthropic (and mildly bigoted) romance novelist who hates touching dogs. Naturally, the film serves Melvin a double whammy and forces him to overcome his deep-seated homophobia and his aversion to dogs by forcing him to look after Verdell, the Brussels Griffon of Melvin’s gay neighbor. There’s also a romantic element with Carol (Helen Hunt), the only woman in New York who can tolerate Melvin. While the six dogs who played Verdell weren’t nominated, Nicholson and Hunter nabbed the Best Acting Oscars for their endearing (and comedic) performances.

Best in Show

Best in Show truly is the best in show of dog-related movies. The Christopher Guest mockumentary follows five dogs and their owners and handlers as they travel to Philadelphia to compete in the fictional Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, which, of course, is modeled off of the prestigious Westminster Dog Show, and lampoons the obscene grandeur of dog-show culture and the insane nature of its competition. It features a pre-Schitt’s Creek Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey at her funniest and a performance from Fred Willard that other actors could only dream of achieving. What’s even more impressive than corralling all of those different breeds of dogs is how much of the film’s dialogue was improvised. Never forget, “God loves a terrier!”

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