Ever wonder what your pets do when you go away for the weekend? Well the new animated flick, ‘The Secret Life of Pets,’ hits theaters this weekend and it provides the answer. But will it get your tail wagging?
With Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, and Jenny Slate voicing the main group of pets, we can’t help but LOL at the premise — a terrier, Max, always has his animal friends over when his owner goes out of town — but when the family brings in a stray mutt, things go sour. But is the movie any good? Or should you wait until it’s on TV? Here’s what the critics are saying.
Just as Buzz and Woody did in “Toy Story,” the characters go from attempting to elbow one another out of their owner’s life to realizing that they actually need one another. The movie never actually says as much, but sharing the house with another dog makes a fine alternative to sitting by the front door all day waiting for the missing human to come home. While the Illumination formula invites far more humor into the mix than the relatively emotion-driven Pixar approach, diving headlong into such comic set pieces as the fantasy sequence where Max and Duke visit the Sausage Kingdom factory, the studio still hasn’t quite figured out how to sell the sentimental side. At times, “The Secret Life of Pets” feels like watching a marathon of silly animal tricks on YouTube, when what we really want is to transported into the heads of those creatures who’ve brought such joy to our own lives and to experience that connection through their eyes.
Full of great moments, funny jokes, off-the-wall characters, and some beautiful imagery, The Secret Life of Pets is sure to amuse many filmgoers. It is, however, a movie that amuses in spite of itself. It is a collection of (mostly) funny scenes, but ones that don’t come together as well as they should. The movie is at its best not in the telling of the main chase, but in exploring what might actually be happening in our homes (or sewers) while we are away and in showing the dynamics between various types of animals. These elements though become secondary to a story that is unworthy of them.
New York Times
Like the “Despicable Me” movies, which put Illumination on the map (and spawned those furshlugginer Minions), “The Secret Life of Pets” is adequate animated entertainment, amusing while it lasts but not especially memorable except as a catalog of compromises and missed opportunities. Among those are the New York setting, a potential wonderland of glamour, filth and imagination that is rendered as blandly as if the movie had been shot on a back-lot set.
Yes, the movie goes a little dark at times, especially when we meet Snowball’s scary crew in the sewers (the film’s animation high point). Also, in the pileup of fur and feathers, you may forget who is who — not to worry, however, since the action and laughs are nonstop. There’s also a scene that shows pet owners coming home at the end of the day to embrace the animals who’ve entered their lives to wreak havoc but also to give them a rare shot at unconditional love. I choked up a little. You will too. Another sucker found.