The Secret Life of Pets turned out to be even better than I thought it would based on the teaser trailers I've been stalking. Max, voiced by Louis C.K., is a sweet brown and white terrier who is absolutely in love with his owner Katie. He has a network of friends in the pets in his building and the one next door (NYC). His life is good. Other than the hours that Katie is away and he pines for her, Max loves everything about his situation. Then Katie adopts Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a huge shaggy brown mop of destruction, and all hell breaks loose.
This is essentially another "find our way home" film with the main characters getting over their initial differences and animosity through surmounting adversity. We've seen these stories over and over and over, and it would be easy to add The Secret Life of Pets to a long line of similar films and forget it. And I've seen some criticisms by viewers who only focused on that aspect of the film. I have to disagree though, as a life long animal lover, a rescuer, a mother and a human with a really twisted sense of humor, this movie was fantastic.
There are several lines going through the movie that are all happening at once. Max and Duke are lost and trying to avoid going to pound, where Duke will be euthanized. Gidget (Jenny Slate), Max's neighbor from next door, is trying to rally their mutual friends, and her newfound not terribly trustworthy hawk friend Tiberius (Albert Brooks), to find and save Max who she's starting to realize she's completely in love with. And Snowball the adorable but evil bunny (Kevin Hart) is leading a revolution of "flushed pets" to destroy humanity, while also trying to find and kill Max and Duke for accidentally killing "The Viper."
This is supposed to be a children's movie. These are the best kinds of children's movies. The ones that are really written for the adults. I have to tell you, there weren't that many kids in the audience. And I was laughing so hard, my kid told me to stop it.
Things that the grownups would enjoy:
The Secret Life of Pets is a brightly coloured, fast paced, romp of an adventure film with some very dark undertones. I did mention the amount of potential death, involuntary snakeslaughter, and attempted homicide right? Lots of death. And a walk over bones. But the kids in the audience didn't seem phased by any of it. They enjoyed the adventure and the gags and I know that the adults that watched it with me enjoyed a lot of the higher level writing.
And you cannot watch Chloe (Lake Bell) and not see the true catness of her character. There was so much done with her supporting part that made me laugh I can't even list them all. I've had cats all my life until the last couple of years and she was perfect. The stray cats were one note villains for the most part, but Chloe, she's fantastic.
I can tell you that I would enjoy seeing this movie again. It isn't my favorite of the children's animated films from the last several years, but it sure was worth going out to see and I did enjoy it completely. I will own a copy at some point for repeated viewing when I need a laugh.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.