The Secret Life of Pets review
I was having dinner with my parents the other night where a plate of hamburgers suddenly disappeared. Seven beef patties vanished as we were getting other side dishes ready to go. What makes it harder to grasp is that it was in the middle of a round table, so we first tied to see where they went. Once our large Rottweiler Zoey came into the living room, we noticed that standing on her hind legs, she could have been tall enough to reach the burgers. While I have no video evidence and no one saw her, we all suspected she must have gotten to the table when we kept our eyes away while she had herself a feat.
There’s a funny dynamic on how much people will associate animals with thoughts that are just as human as their owners. I’d be lying if I said that I never had my dog with me if I was watching a comedy, hoping that my animal could understand the jokes I was laughing at. With today’s movie, voices are given to common pets, even though we’ve seen plenty of talking animal movies before. The Secret Life of Pets explores the thoughts of our pets and what they do when were away.
In the heart of New York in a high rise lives a young woman named Kate who cares plenty for her Jack Russell terrier, Max (played by Louis C.K.). He spends a lot of his time simply waiting for his owner to come home, but does communicate with other pets including a fat cat Chloe, a pug Mel, and a dachshund Buddy. When Katie returns, she also brings in a large Newfoundland that’s named Duke (played by Eric Stonestreet). Though they are told to be brothers, Max immediately takes charge as the alpha dog to show whose boss.
The next day, Both Man and Duke get separated from their building’s dog walker and start wandering the streets. Not only do they loose their collars to a deranged Sphinx cat Ozone (played by Steve Coogan), but they end up being taken by dog catchers. Before the truck can get to the pound, Max and Duke are rescued by a white rabbit Snowball (played by Kevin Hart). Their taken underground where Snowball reveals his team of other abandoned animals who are hoping to take revenge against humans. Meanwhile, a Pomeranian dog Gidget (played by Jenny Slate) is organizing a search team to find Max and Duke before their owners get home.
As a pet owner myself, I thought that this would be very good. Illumination Animation (The Lorax, Despicable Me, Minions) has a talent of imposing classic slapstick into their stories. There were plenty of moments that I laughed when I was reminded of stunt that seemed like something out of a Looney Tunes short. The visual gags were one thing, but Illumination is not that skilled at writing. The big problem is that The Secret Life of Pets feels like a beat-for-beat dog version of Toy Story. You can identify the same structure of the buddy story of the two that don’t like each other, but are working to get home; It’s Toy Story.
How are the characters? What’s odd was that while I got into the side stories of Gidget and Snowball, it’s actually the main characters that really bland and uninteresting. I cannot remember a single line from a shockingly stale Louis C.K. whose working with a script that gives him little to do except make dog jokes. Truth to be told, the biggest character is the animation, which looks nice and gives a fantasy-like of New York City while making it feel big.
I’ll give this three Maxs out of five. The Secret Life of Pets is a movie that was made for kids (I’d say eleven and under). I didn’t laugh much, but my full theater had kids and families that seemed happy. While it wouldn’t be my first choice to show children, this will probably seem fine if you just want something for them to watch for an hour and a half. Pet people just might want to take their leashes and frisbees somewhere else.