Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart
Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Running Time: 87 mins
The Secret Life Of Pets is an American film about a happy dog named Max whose life is turned upside down when his owner brings back a huge new dog, Duke. The next day, Max and Duke’s conflict comes to a head, and leaves them lost in New York City, but fortunately, their friends are on hand to track them down.
This is a pretty fun movie. It may not be a masterpiece of animation up there with Pixar, but The Secret Life Of Pets does exactly what it says on the tin, providing 87 minutes of light-hearted fun, cute animals, zany antics and a simple but enjoyable story that the kids can have fun with, and won’t bore the adults either.
If we start on that note, the story isn’t exceptional here. The parallels with Toy Story are clear as day, and although it does sometimes feel like a bit of a rip-off, going into this film knowing what you’re getting can be a blessing. Don’t expect any drama, excitement or emotion, but as Illumination always do, a silly, light-hearted and family-friendly adventure that will put a smile on your face.
Whilst the plot following animals roaming around New York City avoiding Animal Control is nothing new, the comedy in this film works really well to make it as enjoyable as possible. The jokes here are more than the same old slapstick from Minions, as the dialogue is very well-written, and even includes the odd bit of clever wit.
Of course, the main audience of the film is young kids, and in keeping with that, the comedy is very simplistic. However, it’s not totally dumb, and this is definitely a far more enjoyable film for adults than you would anticipate, thanks principally to its voice performances.
With comedian Louis C.K. in the lead role as Max, you can be guaranteed that there will be laughs here and there, but it’s the fact that the entire film is populated with hilarious performances, including Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Eric Stonestreet, and even a surprisingly tolerable screamy turn from Kevin Hart.
As a result, there are genuinely a lot of laughs to be had, and the film’s light-hearted and cute atmosphere from the word go makes it a lot easier to find them, as you’re not expecting anything more than a simple, run-of-the-mill kids’ movie.
I would have of course liked to see a slightly more engaging and original story, but I think that The Secret Life Of Pets does a good job of knowing its place, and not risking anything that would hurt it. In that, it’s a perfectly fine film, and will definitely give you a good few laughs and put a smile on your face, as well as entertain the kids from start to finish.
With Illumination’s trademark zany animation giving a similarly cuddly look to New York City, the whole film is a very enjoyable and simple watch, and although it’s not going to set the world alight, it does exactly what it needs to be entertaining, and that’s why I’m giving The Secret Life Of Pets a 7.3.