“The Secret Life of Pets” is a movie for small kids, but not anyone else
Like an animal that bares its teeth but never bites, “The Secret Life of Pets” has a great set up, but fails to deliver.
While the cute character designs and attempts at humor might appeal to much younger audiences, any adults watching the movie with your children might find themselves dozing off as the movie continues.
The movie’s main character, Max, starts the movie by discussing how great his life is as a pet before his owner leaves the apartment to go about their day. Once that happens, his other animal friends visit and they begin to interact.
Then, Max’s owner comes home with a second dog, named Duke, causing Max to become jealous, like a kid who now has a younger sibling that takes attention away from them.
Both of the dogs begin to fight, which results in their collars being stolen by a group of alley cats.
Now collarless, animal control arrives and picks up the pair. Duke expresses worry about going back to the pound before the vehicle that is carrying them gets stopped and ambushed by animals.
Freed from their cages under the pretense that they hate humans like the animals that attacked the vehicle, they are lead into the sewers to join their group.
However, their identities as pets are exposed and the two flee, chased by the gang of animals. Meanwhile, Max’s friends begin a rescue search for him after they realize he has vanished.
“The Secret Life of Pets” is a movie with a wonderful set up. As Max gives his narration at the beginning, meets up with his friends, and is then introduced to Duke, it seems as though the movie will be something reminiscent of “Toy Story.”
However, it is not. Instead, it is more like a knockoff that fails horribly.
The conflict between Max and Duke doesn’t actually create anything interesting, and any character development that happens is sudden and without reason.
An example of this comes from Snowball, the bunny leader that wants to kill all humans. At the end of the movie, for literally no reason, he suddenly experiences a complete paradigm shift and lets himself be adopted by a human child just because she picked him up and started petting him.
Another problem with the movie is that some scenes simply do not make sense.
One such scene is when Max and Duke go into a sausage factory where, upon consuming a large number of sausages, go on a sausage-induced drug trip. It’s a scene that has literally no purpose. Nothing comes from the sausage trip, and it is not mentioned ever again in the rest of the movie.
“The Secret Life of Pets” is a movie that tries to do a lot of things. It tries to be funny, endearing, cute, and tell a story of two individuals learning to get along. However, it simply fails to do any of these particularly well.
Its humor falls flat, heartwarming moments are poorly executed, and the main plot line just has terrible writing. While it might certainly keep kids entertained well enough, for any hoping to get a good experience out of this as an adult should look elsewhere.
“The Secret Life of Pets” will be playing in the University Cinema from September 23-29