The Secret Life Of Pets – Fun But Frenetic!
8 July, 2016
The “Secret Life of Pets” is a kind, sweet story about the special relationship not only between pets and their pet parents, but between pets and major cities like New York. It opens with a lovable terrier Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) speeding through Central Park in the basket of his owner Katie’s (Ellie Kemper) bike, but it’s more about apartments, fire escapes, roads and sewers than parks, and how a lovable group of animals is forced to escape and run across them on one crazy day.
Do our pets really go crazy when we humans are away?
If you have ever wondered what happens when we humans are away, our furry, scaly, feathered companions get up to all kinds of mischief. They visit one another’s apartments, they dance and flirt and play loud music and then, when we return, pretend that they’ve been waiting for us the whole time. Except for the cats, of course, who make a great show of not caring.
Cats are depicted, as usual, with less depth and appeal than dogs.
While, of course, this is a comedy, the film is clearly the work of dog people in some tired anti-feline stereotypes. Cats are demanding and are funny. I would love to have them depicted as more than just fat, pampered house cats and scrawny alley predators and pretty unattractive. After all, they are the second most popular domesticated pet and by all the videos that are posted on YouTube about our crazy cats, it would have been nice to see a little more depth.
The action is frenetic and bouncy
The pets encounter an underground militant organization led by Kevin Hart’s adorably fuzzy, implacable little rabbit. He steals the movie and helps it rise to another level of crazy. The animated action is bouncy and frenetic, and if the story becomes a little too busy, it moves quickly and makes room for a barrage of jokes and even some character development. Gidget, the lap dog, evolves from a love-struck princess (pining for Max) into a fierce and resourceful action heroine. Max himself grows less self-involved. Everyone gets home safely.
Kids will love it but I would have liked a little more personality and depth.
“The Secret Life of Pets” is adequate animated entertainment, amusing while it lasts but not especially memorable except for as a series of missed opportunities. Or maybe that’s because I am a crazy pet person and expected more from the film. I’m sure kids will love it, but personally, I think it tried to cover too many pets in the 90 minute film and would have liked a bit more depth. But it’s certainly fun and easy on the eyes.
Photo credit – Illumination Studios, “Secret Life of Pets”