The Stray | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated PG · 92 minutes · 2017

Director/co-writer Mitch Davis takes an episode from his own life and turns into a vaguely Christian-themed drama with bizarre tonal issues. It begins as a standard-issue “workaholic dad learns What Really Matters” tale in 1990, as would-be screenwriter Mitch (Michael Cassidy) spends long hours as a studio script reader, ignoring his wife (Sarah Lancaster) and oldest son, Christian (Connor Corum). Along comes the titular stray—a dog they call Pluto—who joins the family ahead of a crisis point that moves them to Colorado. Davis plays much of the movie for broad comedy, including exaggerated camera angles and gags about Pluto peeing on an expensive car, leading up to a climactic sequence involving a camping trip turned harrowing after a lightning strike. But Davis seems determined not to let even this moment get too dramatic, undercutting it repeatedly with silly humor—after, of course, the necessary pause so everyone can pray—and leaving a long stretch where nothing much seems to be at stake. The lovely mountain scenery and gentle life lessons can’t make up for a drawn-out sentimental finale that doesn’t feel earned.


Staff Rating:
Director: Mitch Davis
Producer: Mitch Davis and Ken Brailsford
Cast: Michael Cassidy, Sarah Lancaster, Connor Corum, Enoch Ellis, Brennan Williams, Scott Christopher and Eliza de Azevedo Brown

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