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After Minions was a little bit of a critical flop, it’s finally the release week for The Secret Life of Pets! The Secret Life of Pets is actually a movie I have been looking forward to for a long time. How cool does it sound to make a movie about what your pets do while you’re not at home? I’ve got four pets at home, and while I’m pretty sure that if they won’t even get off the couch to get a cookie they aren’t taking journeys around the city, it kind of makes me wonder a little bit. I was also really excited because I love the voice cast in this movie. Louis C.K. is one of my favorite stand-up comedians, and I think his delivery and voice is perfect, so I thought that it would be perfect for this animated character. I also think that just about the entire rest of the cast is hilarious and talented. Let’s talk about this movie!
The Secret Life of Pets is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud and stars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, and Ellie Kemper. When the owner of Louis C.K.’s Max, Katie, brings home a brand new dog named Duke, played by Eric Stonestreet, Max has to figure out how to get rid of his new competition. While on a walk, they both get lost in the biggest city in America, New York City. They have to put their minds together and find some sort of common ground to get back to Katie and the rest of their loyal friends who have set out on a search mission for them.
I was hoping to love this movie, and at the end of the movie I can say that I liked it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but I did like it. I thought that Louis C.K. was phenomenal as Max, and if you are familiar with his stand-up or his show called Louie, it is the same feel that those both have with the delivery, attitude, and confidence. He was one of my favorite parts of this movie, and I didn’t realize how amazing his voice is for roles like this. It really worked for me, and so did Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart. Both were absolutely amazing in this movie, and Kevin Hart’s voice is one of the reasons that the character works. His character is kind of an insane, over-the-top bunny rabbit who could do anything at any time, and the way Hart was able to jump right into that character was awesome. I thought that the movie was very well animated, and though I’ve never been to New York, from everything I’ve seen, it looks like they did a great job of capturing everything that New York has to offer minus pizza stealing rats. That aside, I did think they did a great job with The Big Apple. Finally, I wasn’t quite as emotionally invested in a lot of the story as I wanted to be, but I found the concept so interesting to begin with, so it did end up working for me. I have had pets all of my life, and the idea of what they do when they’re at home without me is interesting to me, so that is one reason I did jump on board a little bit.
One of my biggest problems with this movie was that there is so much that just feels jammed in there. There are two scenes in particular that I think totally moved away from the way that the narrative was going, and it felt like a waste of time to me when we could be using that time to help pacing or to get more emotionally involved in the story. Given, one did try to get me more emotionally involved, but it felt so shoehorned in that it didn’t work. Next, for a large part of this movie it felt like short, quick gags then cut right to the next gag, almost like it should have been a short film. There are times where it feels like they are doing their best to pull it out like bubble gum so that the story makes sense as a feature length film. Finally, this movie is nothing we haven’t seen before. I mean, a lot of people are saying that it’s Toy Story with pets, and there are definitely elements of both characters and plot that feel a lot like Toy Story, but I was still kind of mystified by the whole idea. This is still nothing new, and it’s not really groundbreakingly different in any way in the way that some of the best recent animated movies have been such as Inside Out, Big Hero 6, The Lego Movie, or even Finding Dory in some ways. It’s exactly what you expect, and probably won’t surprise you at all.
Overall, I did enjoy The Secret Life of Pets. I thought that the vocal cast was absolutely amazing, and some of the side characters are actually very interesting and compelling. I loved Louis C.K. as Max as well as Kevin Hart and Eric Stonestreet, and they made the movie work for me. I have always been on board with the concept, so I did stay on-board even though I had a few issues with the movie such as when it gets off track and goes in a different direction and uses very quick gags that would basically work as America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’m going to give The Secret Life of Pets a 6.5/10.
Did you get the chance to check out The Secret Life of Pets? If you did, what did you think? Will you be headed to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? I did review it easier this week, so if you would like to check that out you can click right HERE! Also, be sure to stay tuned for plenty more movie reviews next week for movies like The Infiltrator, Ghostbusters, Ice Age: Collision Course, and the movie that’s going to make me lose sleep for the rest of the summer, Lights Out! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!
Images courtesy of Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures.