Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets (2016) - movie review

Rated: PG
Run Time: 87 minutes

The Secret Life of Pets topped the box office charts at $103.2 million since its opening on Friday, July 8 through Sunday, July 10, "a record debut total for an original animated film," according to ABCNews. This record opening is said to have outperformed last year's $90.4 million blockbuster hit Inside Out (2015) made by Disney-Pixar (ABCNews).

Oh that just pained me to say that (sorry Inside Out, the numbers don't lie).

Being a pet-owner myself of a black Chihuahua named Panther (8) and a blond Jack-Russell Mix-Chihuahua, Max (7), whom I strongly believe have their own secret language, secret identity, secret high sign, and secret life, I was very anxious to watch this film and see just how closely the on-screen dogs' lives resembled that of my own real-life dogs. It was pretty darn close, minus the inner-city excursion, the ferry ride, the truck hijacking, and oh, the talking dogs (and cats, and pig, and rabbit, Oh My!)

The Storyline

Once upon a time, a terrier named Max, voiced by Louis C.K. (Louis C.K. Oh My God, 2013) lived a happy life with his human, Katie, played by Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids, 2011) with whom he went everywhere and did everything in the heart of New York City. As loyal fur-buddies do, Max waited patiently for Katie to return, but to his dismay she brings home Duke, voiced by Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family, 2009) a messy and clumsy rescued stray. Feeling betrayed by Katie and that Duke is trying to take over his territory, Max tells his neighborhood animal-friends, "he won't be staying long," thus ensues the battle over Katie.

Chaos befuddles the pair on their afternoon walk when they find themselves onboard a truck bound for the pound. After numerous attempts to escape, they end up lost in the city and must find their way back home. They happen upon a cute, little white bunny rabbit named Snowball, played by Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence, 2016), who offers to help them in exchange for joining his allegiance of misfit, ragtag pets who are plotting revenge against all human owners who abandoned them.

Talking animals of any kind, real or animated, are just plain CUTE with a capital "C" and this movie did not disappoint. The opening reveals what the animals in a Manhattan apartment building do when their owners leave for the day. This reviewer's favorites included a head-banging poodle rocking out to heavy metal music; a very plump cat whose only mission is to seek food and devour it; and a white, fluffy Pomeranian named Gidget, voiced by Jenny Slate (Zootopia, 2016) who is Max's self-proclaimed girlfriend.

Happy Ending

The movie concludes when the pair band together along with an army of neighbor pets led by Gidget, turn against Snowball and bring peace and order back to the city.


Overall this family-friendly, kid-appropriate movie was paced quite nicely from start to finish allowing the audience time to identify with some of the onscreen pets. One boy nearby was delighted every time the food-loving cat appeared, yelling "Aww, Fat Cat!" 

Kevin Hart brought life to his role as Snowball and as expected, the theater filled with so much knee-slapping laughter and tiny giggles. What began as a love-hate relationship between Max and Duke, this reviewer slowly acquired a change of heart and found herself cheering for the underdog (pun intended there) who happened to be Duke, not Max. Yes, just watch the movie and see why that is (no spoiler alert).

Stay for the end credits and see extra footage.

Rating: A-


Post a Comment