The Secret Life OF Pets Reviewed
The Secret Life of Pets is all about pets’ lives when their owners leave, but it primarily features two dogs: Max and Duke. Max is having a great life as his owner Katie's loyal dog, until she brings home Duke, a big brown mop of a dog that takes over Max’s space. Max plots to get rid of his new brother so that he can have owner Katie all to himself once again. But through a wild series events the two dogs wind up alone in the city and have to work together to get back home. Will Woody and Buzz get home to Andy before the move? Wait, nevermind, I had déjà vu for a second there.
Louie C.K. plays Max and suffers as the bland lead, which is a shame seeing as how brilliant Louie can be. He plays this character as written, with nothing funny asked of him and nothing funny given. Eric Stonestreet as Duke is also a plain-Jane kind of character. Stonestreet doesn’t offer anything particularly interesting in his voice acting in terms of jokes or emotion. They try to add some emotional heft to his character as the movie progresses. but it comes off as cheap more than sincere.
The only interesting character in this whole movie is Snowball (Kevin Hart), a maniacal bunny rabbit. Watching a fluffy, little bunny talking with a tattooed pig and quiet iguana about killing humans is undeniably funny. Hart carries the comedic load of the script, trying to do what this movie should have been doing the entire time.
As I walked out of the movie a couple of kids said to each other that they liked the movie, not knowing exactly what they liked about it, just knowing it had appealed to them. Perhaps that is good enough.
20 years ago this movie would have been fine for the family to enjoy, but now with studios like Pixar in the game the usual just won’t do anymore. If this was a Pixar movie I would have cried just thinking about the movie again, but a moment like that never comes. Even Disney, who now owns Pixar, is starting to raise the bar in their movie production, churning out movies similar to the early 90’s set that led to the animation resurgence. This leaves lesser movies like this one to be forgotten in the discount bin of a grocery store.
Movies don’t get any safer than The Secret Life of Pets. If you are looking for a movie to entertain the whole family, you're better off renting Zootopia or seeing Finding Dory again. But if you just want a way to distract the kids for 90 minutes and to avoid the heat, then this movie can at least do that. D