Flash Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets

On the way back from vacation I was able to stop and have dinner with a long time friend; we go back many years. For all this time I never heard a word from them about wishing or wanting a pet. I cannot even remember them ever stopping to pet a friend’s dog or cat. So here we are sitting at a restaurant catching up on what was new in each of our lives when he tells me I have to see this video. Taking their phone out they click on a couple of buttons then hand the phone to me. I am watching a video of two dogs playing in a back yard. Without seeing the video, only listening for audio cues, they narrated the different scenes in the video. Not only were they telling me what I was watching, they were sharing the dogs’ thoughts with me. The dogs’ thoughts? I heard how one of the dogs runs outside and lets everyone know they are there, racing up and down while barking. The other dog was a thinker; he would observe everything around him before acting on it. I sat there in disbelief as my friend went on about these 2 dogs, placing human emotions and thoughts on them. Not that I am judging, being an animal lover I absolutely got it; but I was amazed I never saw or heard a clue my friend would be so in love with these dogs that they babysat 2-3 times a week. This is the power pets have over some of us.    MAX, voiced by Louis C.K. (Turbo, Blue Jasmine), was living an idyllic life with his owner Katie, voiced by Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids, Sex Tape), until one day she came home with Duke, voiced by Eric Stonestreet (Identity Thief, Modern Family-TV); who was to become his new brother. Max did not want this dog as his brother. This animated comedy had a well chosen cast of actors such as Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, Girls-TV) as Gidget and Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence, The Wedding Ringer) as Snowball to voice the memorable characters. I enjoyed the beginning of this family movie and thought the story was fun; the idea of pets having a secret life was brilliant. However when the story line changed and focused on Kevin Hart’s character I felt the story lost some energy besides the fun factor. Despite some fun lines and excellent animation I found myself getting bored during several places. Maybe my reaction to this picture was due to the high caliber of recent animated films, but this film was missing a sweetness to it. The humor was never at a laugh out loud type of level and not that I expect all animated films to have a learning moment in them, but I was left with just an okay feeling towards this movie. I will say the next time I am around someone’s pet I will be watching them closely to see if I can figure out what they are thinking. There was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

 

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About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on July 12, 2016, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. My husband took our two youngest sons to see this at the weekend. The kids were entertained, especially as they love animals, but my husband was not impressed. He thought the plot was basically a rehash of Toy Story and there wasn’t enough plot focus or humour to capture the interest of adults in the audience. He also said the best bits were all in the trailer.

    • Your husband is correct and I agree with the Toy Story reference. Because the 2 of you are astute movie lovers, I have to ask if your first date was going to the movies? Thanks for the comments.

      • Hmmm. Good question. It’s difficult to pin point our first date so I can’t say for sure. However, back when we were just best friends, we were both members of the university’s film society so we saw two or three movies together each week. Chances are high, therefore, that our first excursion together as a couple was to see a movie.

      • Makes perfect sense to me and I find it sweet and charming. Thanks for telling me.

  2. Agree with everything here. The movie is mediocre. I vowed never to watch another animated film, but this one was on the little Amazon stick thingee, so at least I don’t feel ripped off ;-/

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