The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

This is the perfect film for today’s children. It is scatterbrained, adorable, and exhausting.

I should have known. Every trailer I saw used footage from the first few minutes of the film, showcasing just how our pets react when we leave. You have Max (Louis CK), Gidget (Jenny Slate), Snowball (Kevin Hart), and plenty others. A character doesn’t have to have an arc to be in this film; it just needs to be cute.

If you’ve only seen the trailers, you don’t know what this film is really about. Let me tell you. Max’s owner brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a massive mop of a dog who steals the spotlight. They start to antagonize each other, and it ends up getting them taken by Animal Control. When Snowball, a fluffy rebel rabbit, attacks the van, Max and Duke go to the sewers. While this is happening, Gidget assembles the neighborhood pets to find Max, her true love.

This film skips between plotlines like a child on crack playing hopscotch, and I was irritated that I didn’t know any of this going in. Even the IMDb listing reveals hardly anything of the plot. I didn’t even know Kevin Hart was going to be in the film, playing his usual self (the Energizer bunny). When a studio markets a concept, you know that it’s not going to be a great film. It just isn’t.

On the bright side, the voice work and animation are top-notch. By some miracle, a great set of comic actors fits into their roles perfectly, and the level of textural detail is just phenomenal. The story fits well enough, is all I can say.

The box office receipts have come in, and this movie is a massive hit. Undeniable. I don’t think it deserves the attention, but I can see why it’s getting it. Kids don’t care about story; they just want to see the cute pets. Ironically, their parents left the real pets at home to pay to see a movie that would show what the pets would do in their absence.

But you’re not supposed to think about that. You’re not supposed to think about anything in this movie, and it won’t make you try. You’re just supposed to laugh when Kevin Hart acts ridiculously, and get your kids whatever candy they want.

This is one sugar rush of a movie.

2.5

The Secret Life of Pets is in theaters now.

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