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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets, or It's a Pity Kids Don't Know Who Louis C.K. Is

This probably looked good in 3D.

Like most computer-animated films being released nowadays, The Secret Life of Pets is also released with a preceding animated short film. Unlike other computer-animated films, however, this film's short sucks. The plot is about the Minions (those cute/annoying yellow turds from Despicable Me) trying to purchase a blender, then hilarity ensues. For adults, that hilarity is ho-hum. But the kids will probably have a good laugh over it.

The premise of The Secret Life of Pets is basically like Toy Story for animals. It's pretty straightforward in the title: when the owners are away, pets have a secret life, like this classic poodle that plays death metal music while banging its head. The timeline for this movie occurs in one of those periods between the owner's departure and arrival. So that's maybe twelve hours? I wonder how long that is in dog time.

Duke is so cute. Like a walking chocolate carpet.

This film isn't bad. It's just not Pixar-level good. For adults, it doesn't have that "Aww" factor we associate with animated films that tug at the heartstrings, except maybe for those who are hardcore pet lovers. I wouldn't know, because I'm not hardcore, but there might be a pet reference or two in this film that could be considered as nuggets of wisdom. Again, I wouldn't know, as I mostly just sat back and laughed at the jokes.

Seeing that this film is mainly for children, the casting of voice actors was most likely the studio's attempt to appeal to the grown-up crowd. There's Louis C.K. as Max, Eric Stonestreet as Duke, Kevin Hart as Snowball the bunny, Albert Brooks as Tiberius, Dana Carvey as Pops, among other stars–these are just some of the biggest names in comedy right now, in case you didn't notice (except for Carvey, who was big in the '90s and is making more of a comeback here). These comics are supposed to draw the parents into sharing a two-hour family-friendly movie with their children, although the little kids couldn't really care less about who voices the characters they're seeing onscreen.

That said, The Secret Life of Pets succeeds as a traditional animated film, and I mean traditional in the "cartoons are for children" sense. Adults may not share the same sentiment, especially those who've been exposed to a lot of Pixar and Studio Ghibli.

You just gotta love the texture on that dog's nose.

The Secret Life of Pets. USA. 2016.

Original rating: 6/10
Dana Carvey: +0.1
Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York" as the opening song: +0.1
Final rating: 6.2/10


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