Movie Review: The Secret Life Of Pets

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars

Bottom Line: A mildly entertaining kids movie.  Not much for adults.  Visually gorgeous.

Pets have secrets.  The minute you leave them alone, they throw wild parties and visit other pets and talk and behave all around like teenagers.  Well, at least for the first fifteen minutes of the movie they do.  Then they mostly do all the same stuff right out in the open for all humans to see.  So really the movie should have been called “The Not So Secret Lives of Pets”.  The “Secret Lives” parts of the movie are clever and fun, but there’s only so much you can do with it while also trying to tell a story and advance a plot.  Except if you’re Pixar.  In fact, upon seeing the previews for “The Secret Life of Pets”, I started calling it “Toy Story 4” because of the similarities, but the truth is this movie is lazier than the worst Pixar film (“Cars”?).

The basic premise of the plot is that Max (Louie C.K.) has a loving owner who one day brings home another dog, Duke (Eric Stonestreet).  Max doesn’t like Duke and tries to get rid of him.  Duke returns the favor.  They find themselves alone on the streets.  If you had to guess what would happen to two pet dogs that find themselves in this situation, what do you think would happens next?  If you said, “They get caught by the dog catcher”, you win a prize!  Like I said, lazy.  The rest of the movie is them trying to get back home.  There’s enough to be entertaining, but nothing particularly worth recommending.

And now a brief word on stereotypes in Hollywood.  While the cast for this movie is slightly more diverse than a Republican’s list of summer interns, it still lacks diversity.  Where it does have diversity is in the form of the main villain, a psychopathic bunny named Snowball played by Kevin Hart who, you may know, is black.  So the one main role that goes to a black man happens to be the villain.  Wonderful.

If you want to see a good animated movie that’s out now, go see “Finding Dory“.  If you’ve already seen that, “The Secret Life of Pets” pales in comparison, but is still not bad, especially if you have children.  There’s plenty of cuteness, a tad of cleverness, and lots of beautiful.