REVIEW: If Not A Pet Owner, A Person Can Skip The ‘Secret Life Of Pets’

Illumination Studios, responsible for the “Despicable Me” franchise, is back with animals this time.

“The Secret Life of Pets” takes place in New York City and follows a group of animals living in an apartment complex with various owners. More specifically, the film is about Max (Louis C.K.), a dog who lives a comfortable life with his owner.

Conflict starts up, though, when his owner brings home a new dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The two don’t exactly hit it off and their tension between each other ends up getting them lost and in trouble with the pound.

It’s already been said in other reviews and I’ll repeat it because it’s true. This movie does basically have the same premise as “Toy Story,” where a group of things have a life hidden from everyday people and one of them is kicked out of their comfortable life because of a rival.

The similarities are all there, except for the charm and heart. The film seemed more focused on throwing gags on screen based around how animals act as pets, and this likely works for pet owners. For me, though, it was just a lot of recycled things from other movies. If you’ve seen “Toy Story” or another ‘animals are lost and need to get home’ type film, it’s likely you know what’s coming in “The Secret Life of Pets.”

The characters weren’t that memorable, either. They felt much more like caricatures than actual characters and didn’t have much depth at all. Besides Max and Duke, no one really gets a backstory.

A good example of this is a romance that is hinted at earlier in the picture, but is completely discarded later in the movie.

The worst part of the movie, though, was Kevin Hart whose character just yelled every minute from start to finish. It got old really fast.

“Secret Life” reminded me a lot of last year’s movie “The Good Dinosaur.” Both films have good enough animation and an amount of light humor to entertain younger audiences, but as a whole it’s forgettable. Pet owners will likely get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but for everyone else it’s just average at best. 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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