The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Poster

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Cute Movie, But A Bit Over-hyped
meshjoy12 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
After hearing people praise this movie, and seeing how much it was advertised, I was curious to see this. Now, I've never loved Illumination's movies, but I've never hated them either. I don't mind any of their films, but I feel like they're not as innovative as certain other animation companies. Hearing how much people loved Secret Life of Pets gave me a bit of hope that perhaps this movie would be Illumination's breakthrough. The one that would have the best animation, story, characters, emotions, etc.

Unfortunately, Secret Life of Pets just ended up being another okay movie for me. Right when I saw the trailers, I was reminded of Toy Story with the plot. I feared that the plot would be predictable, and it definitely was. A few different things were thrown in, but as a whole, the story was pretty predictable. One of the different things that was thrown in had potential to be a really emotional scene. This is a spoiler, by the way. Anyway, Duke finds out that his original owner had died, which could've led into an emotional scene, like in Finding Dory when Dory was made to believe her parents were dead. But the whole scene failed. Firstly, it was told, not shown. A random cat just gives the news to Duke. Second, Duke barely reacts to this, despite the movie going out of its way to show us a montage of him with his owner. He just gets mad at the family that moved into the owner's home before getting caught by animal control. After that, it's never mentioned again. Duke is just fine with his owner being dead, and living with a new owner and Max. This really bothers me, since as I said, this scene had potential to be emotionally provoking. But it didn't take the chance.

Our main characters didn't interest me. Max is just another typical good guy that just wants a good life. Duke was just another lovable big guy who may be a bit slow. However, the only characters that made me laugh/I enjoyed were Gidget, Snowball, Tiberius, and Pops. Gidget and Snowball were the ones that really shined, though. Gidget was just plain adorable, and hilarious. As for Snowball, I'm not a big fan of Kevin Hart, but he really did a great job for his first animated film. I personally prefer him doing voice work than him in live action films. He managed to make me laugh multiple times as Snowball. That bunny may be cute, but he's totally psychotic. As for the rest of the characters, they didn't really interest me. I don't hate any of them, but they were pretty generic.

I also am sick of the Minions. They got old when their own movie was made. I won't mind seeing them in Despicable Me 3, since we'll only get small doses of them, but having them constantly shoved in our faces is getting annoying. The short that came on before Secret Life of Pets was just stupid. No experimentation with the animation or characters. Just plain stupidity. They also had one of the dogs in Secret Life wear a Minions costume, and I just rolled my eyes. Minions may make Illumination money, but not many people care about them anymore. I certainly don't.

I do have some positive things to say about this film. The animation was impressive. I was particularly impressed with how they animated water, and the mannerisms of the pets. Which leads into the next thing I liked about this. I admire how much the creators of the film did their research on not just dogs, but most pets people keep. They were spot on with how dogs, cats, birds, etc. act. As a dog and cat owner, I appreciate the humor/realism that went into the pets, and they reminded me of my own pets.

As a whole, this a cute, but flawed film. I wasn't impressed with most of the characters. The story was predictable. Nothing about this film was thought or emotionally provoking. However, I appreciated some of the film's humor, animation, and the research that went into the mannerisms of the pets. It's a shame that this wasn't Illumination's breakthrough. Sure, it's making a lot of money, but it's still just an alright movie. Hopefully one day, Illumination will make a film just as great as the likes of Zootopia or Inside Out. The Secret Life of Pets just isn't that film.
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The best bits are all in the trailer
meganhinge7 October 2016
The trailer was looking promising. Lots of laughs and clever humour. Hopes were high as the trailer for Zootopia was inciting and that film did not disappoint. However, Secret Life of Pets turned out to be a fizzer. Excessively violent for a children's film, not funny or clever and really rather odd. The characters are not developed which means that the audience doesn't particularly care what happens on their quest. The stand out of the film is the husky little white fluffball of a dog. I think this film is aimed at children, though the guy down the row from me was certainly laughing a lot (while I was taking power naps). Not the same caliber as Despicable Me.
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Very silly but enjoyable
preppy-313 July 2016
Animated film that takes place in NYC. Two dogs named Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) and Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) get separated from their owner when out for a walk. The film chronicles their journey back home.

This is clearly aimed at kids but has plenty of humor that adults will enjoy. I'm in my 50s and laughed long and loud at some of the antics. The script is good and moves quickly. I was never bored. With one exception the voices perfectly fit the characters. The one exception was Snowball. He's a psychotic rabbit voiced by Kevin Hart. Hart can be funny but not here. He YELLS every word out at the audience. It gets annoying quick. The animation is great--very fluid and pleasing to the eye. The backdrops of NYC are breath-taking. The only real debit is there are some glaring lapses in logic but it IS a kids film. Recommended.
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Don't keep it to yourself - "The Secret Life of Pets" is great family fun!
dave-mcclain9 July 2016
When you see as many movies as I do (and you start writing reviews in your head while you're watching them), certain movies, parts of movies, plot points or characters remind you of other movies. In my reviews, I often note those parallels, using them to comment on the movie I'm reviewing. Sometimes I note similarities between movies to say that the more recent film is unoriginal. Other times, it's just to help explain what the new movie is like. The animated adventure comedy "The Secret Life of Pets" (PG, 1:30) reminds me very much of two other animated features… but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Someone's possessions (as he or she views them) actually have secret lives of their own which are only really apparent when the owner is not around. These anthropomorphic possessions relate to each other and form friendships. When a newer version of the original is brought into the group, jealousy emerges and the original tries to get rid of the interloper. This struggle results in both of the rivals being thrust out of the comforts of home into the little-understood big, bad world, a situation which requires their compadres to venture out of their own comfort zones to mount a rescue.

That set-up fits Illumination Entertainment's 2016 "The Secret Life of Pets" as well as it does the 1995 Pixar/Disney classic film "Toy Story". (Think, "Pet Story", or "The Secret Life of Toys".) But considering that the 2016 film is about animals rather than toys, maybe the better comparison is to another 2016 animated feature (also from Disney) by the name of "Zootopia". In both of those 2016 films, a couple of anthropomorphic animals (among many others living in a big city) form a partnership which develops into a mutually beneficial friendship. I guess it's not unfair to think of "The Secret Life of Pets" as a mash-up of "Toy Story" and "Zootopia". Nevertheless, this one charts its own unique course and is as entertaining as those other two… or the "Despicable Me" films, also from Illumination Entertainment.

Now that you know what "The Secret Life of Pets" is LIKE, here's what it's ABOUT: The movie focuses on a small brown and white terrier named Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) and his relationship with the other pets in his apartment building. Max lives in a small Manhattan apartment with his owner, a young woman named Katie (Ellie Kemper). When Katie goes to work each day, Max sits at the door wondering where she has gone and waiting for her to come back and play with him. Meanwhile, the pets in the building across the alley and above and below his apartment (and one guniea pig lost in the air ducts) are more active in their daily lives (and more mobile) than is readily apparent. (Thus, the title of the film.) Some of the neighborhood pets include an overweight white cat named Chloe (Lake Bell), a bulldog named Mel (Bobby Moynihan), a dachshund named Buddy (Hannibal Buress), a canary named Sweet Pea (Tara Strong), and Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian who has a secret crush on Max.

Except for missing Katie during the day, all is well in Max's little world… until one not-so-fine day when Katie brings home another dog she rescued from a shelter. Duke (Eric Stonestreet) is a large, shaggy, dark brown dog who has no problem throwing his weight around to get the best place to sleep, or as much food as he wants, or… anything else. Max starts scheming about how to get rid of Duke, but one such attempt while they're in the park with Katie's dog walker back-fires and sets both Max and Duke off on a wild and dangerous journey around the city. When Gidget realizes that Max has disappeared, she enlists their mutual pet friends, plus a caged hawk named Tiberius (Albert Brooks), and a few other neighborhood pets (including the Dana Carvey voiced "Pops"), to help her find Max. Meanwhile, Max and Duke have to try escaping from animal control workers, a disfigured alley cat named Ozone (Steve Coogan) and a small, but crazed and bitter bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), who was discarded by the magician he worked for and now leads a sewer-dwelling group of radicals called The Flushed Pets, who are bent on wiping out all the humans – and who decide that Max and Duke are also their enemies.

"The Secret Life of Pets" is every bit as entertaining as you'd hope, based on its theatrical trailers, or its movie posters, or just its title. Co-writers Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch exploit many of the well-known quirks of different kinds of pets, but give each character in the film its own personality. Then, once the script clearly establishes who each of these characters are, it gives them plenty to do, but without making the story unnecessarily complicated. Co-directors Chris Renaud (who also voices the aforementioned lost guinea pig) and Yarrow Cheney bring this promising concept and excellent script to realization by keeping the plot moving and not overdoing any of the film's big ideas or overplaying any of the gags. Finally, with the film's impressive voice cast and the filmmakers' "Despicable" history, the performances and the visuals are excellent across the board. On the critical side, I found a subplot involving Duke's backstory and a "Grease"-inspired sausage-fueled dream sequence to be odd and unnecessary diversions, and I would've liked to see just a little more originality and inspiration sprinkled throughout the movie. However, there's no denying that "The Secret Life of Pets" is very well-done good, clean fun for the whole family. "A-"
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Fantastic movie for all ages! Everyone should watch this film!
wivavog2 September 2016
-Looking for a great movie, that's hilarious? This movie is heart warming,its a very fun watch that you can enjoy alone or with someone (turn off the light-close the blinds get your loved ones,treats and cuddle up for a great time!)-

I thought this was a great film! It was so very well done from the story line and brilliantly written and quite humorous script! To the gorgeous animation that is stunningly executed. Consistently complimenting the very creatively and carefully crafted characters that you will instantly fall in love with and keep you smiling and laughing through out the film! The cast and voicing worked well with the beautiful illustration to really brought the characters and movie to life! Ultimately bringing the whole movie home.It doesn't matter if your 5 or 50 just be happy and enjoy the simple things in life ( the things that actually matter ;) -Take Care World & God Bless!
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A fun movie with a good plot.
seancassidy-325503 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed this movie more than Despicable Me. I liked the fact that there was more than one story going on at a time. At one point, there were three different stories that eventually came together.

I think the jokes in the movie would be funnier for adults than children, probably because I'm a fan of Louis C.K. and his delivery. I think the eventual happy ending that concludes the movie is suited to the kids and they will come out happy they saw it.

The characters aren't as compelling as Disney/Pixar characters but I think there were more jokes in this one than usual. I also don't think there were as much emotional obstacles for the characters to conquer in this one opposed to a Disney/Pixar movie. This movie was just fun almost all the way through. Even when the characters were about to die they were still making jokes. Some people might rather this type of animation.

The movie was easy and fun to watch, a good movie for the kids and the adults.
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Pets on the Run, Make for Silly, Family Fun
rgkarim9 July 2016
Kids movies continue to swarm into the theaters, and Hollywood's trailer editors have been hard at work baiting us in. With Disney owning the box office this summer, Illumination Entertainment (the creators of Despicable Me) are taking a shot at the box office run. This weekend we got The Secret Life Of Pets, a movie that has been highly anticipated since it's trailer debut from so long ago. It was indeed a very entertaining trailer, but we all know how trailers can be deceptive now don't we? So I have headed into the trenches again to report on the latest film to hit the silver screen.

The GOOD • Cute/Kid Friendly • Funny • Good animation

When you watch, or for many rewatch, the trailers you most likely saw the characters as cute, cuddly animals doing hilarious things. Good news! The trailer is accurate this time and provides the cute factor you expected (including the very scenes you saw in the trailer). All of the characters are adorable, the main ones being bouncy, fluffy, high-spirited animals that will make you want to say Awwwwww. Our design team found a way to maximize all the cute features of an animal and sell it to the families that will lead to merchandising. Even animals you wouldn't think cute (like snakes, gators, and lizards) get the cuddly personifications. Hopefully you have gathered from this, that the design is kid friendly and will have your little ones enamored.

But cute is only the hook, what keeps the interest going in this film? The answer is the comedy of course. The stunts the animals pull are entertaining and the dialogue itself had me chuckling at many of the media references. Voice acting only helps sell the comedy more, especially Kevin Hart and all his high pitched screaming. Your kids though will be the ones to enjoy the comedy the most though, as it is slapstick, simplistic antics with digital pets. Running into walls, making funny faces, or going to the bathroom on the floor are just some of the things you will see that had toddlers chuckling in their seats.

And a small bonus, that really shouldn't be a surprise, is that the animation is good. Illumination Entertainment certainly has their anatomy and physiology down being able to superimpose human qualities while still maintaining there animal qualities. Glad to know that our animation studios are still able to produce great works. If only they could have put that effort into the next few qualities.

THE BAD • The Story • Lack of Uniqueness • Trailers showed you a lot of the movie

With the comedy and animation being the obvious focus, you have to wonder how the story fared in this movie. Unfortunately…it didn't fare that well. Oh it's not that bad at all, but the problem is that it lacks anything memorable or emotionally driving for me. The writers crammed a lot of plots into a short 90 minutes run time, and the resulting production was a very rushed, shallow tale with little development. A split focus resulted in little emotional build-up, and there was no intriguing qualities to keep my attention on any of the cast. And the goal they were trying to achieve was very limited and didn't really set any time limit or urgency to the tale.

To add more fuel to that fire, The Secret Life of Pets wasn't really that unique of a movie. We've had talking pet movies before, where anthropomorphic animals traverse a city or town that often involves a very extreme villain (think Oliver and Company or Homeward Bound). Those tales stick home because they had edge, depth, and moments that stick out in your mind. Not the case with this movie, as again there was no drive to make our pets grow, develop, or even go through much struggle at all. It doesn't have any twists to mix things up either, and therefore leaves little to spoilt. In addition, much of the movie, including a lot of the funny parts, is revealed in the three trailers out and therefore you can save yourself some major bucks by just rewatching all of the trailers. Yeah, I know that is definitely a disappointing factor.

The Verdict

The Secret Life Of Pets is exactly what the trailer promises, fun, entertaining, and wildly adorable. Younger audience members, as well as those very young at heart, are the target group for this movie hands down. It has the laugh factor certainly, and the cast of characters are a motley crew that I certainly enjoyed. However, the story is very simplistic, the lack of emotional suspense, and that much of the movie is told in the trailers make this movie not the most memorable of the summer. I can't say it is worth a trip to the theater in comparison to some of the other kid movies, but it makes for a good family outing.

My scores are:

Animation/Comedy/Family: 7.5-8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
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Surprisingly Entertaining Illumination Flick
valen0603 August 2016
Ever since the release of Despicable Me back in 2010, Illumination has really stepped up from their previous animated movies. Whether it be the aforementioned film, its sequel, its spin-off Minions, or the 2012 adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, it was quite a change with their latest entry The Secret Life of Pets.

The plot centers around Max (Louis C.K.), a terrier living happily with his loving owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) in New York City, but when she adopts a bigger dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) to live with them, Max is overwhelmed by his new roommate. The two opposing dogs must then work together however, before Katie gets back when they are lost in the big city.

For an original story done by Illumination, it does creatively borrow off the concepts of both Toy Story as well as the 2008 film Bolt, yet it flows out well with the voice cast bringing these characters to life which include stand-up comic Louis C.K. voicing the leading dog Max, Jenny Slate (Saturday Night Live, Zootopia) as Max's potential love interest Gidget, and 'Modern Family' star Eric Stonestreet as Duke. With quick-witted, slapstick humor that feels reminiscent of Looney Tunes (even with a tendency to adlib lines in some scenes), the real scene stealer among this talented cast goes to comedian Kevin Hart voicing adorable, yet antagonistic rabbit Snowball.

While the littler ones will be kept engaged and entertained by the humorous animal characters as well as the obstacles they come across, to me personally the story feels rushed, especially the need for a little more emotional depth and better character development. I know there's a lot more to offer in this story's universe, so a sequel can't be far behind from this underrated animated flick. Nevertheless, it certainly kept me laughing nearly throughout the movie's 90-minute run time and it's something that shouldn't be taken for granted. I enjoyed it.
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Laugh Value, Character Value, Music Value.
kendallvmead10 July 2016
I saw the trailer for this movie last Summer and the first thing I said was "I have to go see this movie." So, needless to say I've been looking forward to this film since last summer and I had very high expectations for it. I am pleased to say it went above and beyond and met these expectations, I absolutely adored this movie and would recommend it to anybody of any age.

First things first is starting from the beginning and the introduction of the characters and I thought Illumination Entertainment did a fantastic job in presenting each individual. As an audience we knew after the first ten minutes who each character was, their relationships with each other, and the individual personalities. For an animation film I was really pleased with this because you normally don't get that character depth in the beginning and sometimes you never get it in the film. As the story went on the characters developed at an individual level as well as a relationship level with others which added to the plot line drastically. Not to mention the actors and actresses who portrayed each character were spot on with the voices.

However, the icing on the cake for the entire film for me was the soundtrack. The soundtrack is very important because it not only sets the pace for the film on screen but it also changes your emotions and tells you when you need to be sad, scared, happy, etc. That is exactly what this soundtrack did and it pleased me because without that human interaction happening on the screen, because it was animated, the music filled that gap and allowed your emotions to change.

One problem I did have with the movie, and this was more towards the end, was the humor. The humor made me laugh in the beginning quite a bit but by the end of the movie the humor was starting to become more outrageous. Almost as if they were trying to hard to make it funny. Now even though this humor was changing a bit as the film went on it was not enough for me not to suggest seeing this movie for its laugh value.

Overall, if you have a family, kids, husband, or just want to see this movie with friends I would definitely recommend. You'll laugh, you'll cry a little bit, but most importantly you will leave the theater happy.
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Entertaining and amusing
Figgy66-915-59847026 June 2016
26 June 2016 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight. - The Secret Life of Pets. Max is the spoiled only dog belonging to Katie. His whole world revolves round her and when she brings Duke home from the pound, Max is more than a little miffed. Duke and Max fall out but are forced to help each other when they get lost and into many scrapes during the course of their day. This film, although not side splittingly funny was very amusing and the film makers are so very clever in creating a personality for each and every one of the animals in this film. I think we secretly all hope our pets have fun lives when we leave them home alone, and this film very cleverly moulds each pet to its owner and each house to fit it's pet. Applause must be given to the animators, the details which have been created in the cityscape is incredible, take time to look behind the animals for the skylines, the water, ever the sewers have so much crammed in to them I think you would need to see the film several time to take it all in, it's a long way from ink and paint!!!!
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Some fun moments, but ultimately not a good watch overall due to the lack of a plot really
Horst_In_Translation11 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"The Secret Life of Pets" is one of the most known animated films from the United States this year (2016). The two directors and four writers who made this include a couple names that worked on films from the Minions universe, so nobody should be surprised that a Minions short film runs before "Pets" and there is also another reference at the very end with one of the pets being dressed like a Minion. But back to this one here. I was as unimpressed by the outcome here as I was by the newest "Minions" movie. The film runs for approximately 90 minutes and gives us an insight into the life of pets and what they do when their owners are off to work and not in charge. Heard that before? That's right. The general idea here reminded me a lot of the Toy Story approach to things. And there are more references. For example, the two main characters (dogs) felt a lot like the protagonists from the "Monsters Inc." universe in terms of their size and interactions. So yeah, "Pets" definitely borrows a lot from other films, but what is the most disappointing thing is that it tries to be creative in his own right at times, but almost never succeeds and this is pretty shocking looking at how many films worked on this one.

"Pets" is definitely not a failure and there are several parts where I enjoyed it from the comedic perspective. I also liked some minor references, for example early on about how the main character does not like to be at home alone. The comedy is not the problem here. It is the emotional impact. The only part where it is close to making one is when we find out about the new dog's owner and his journey back to his old owner's house. Other than that, the drama is entirely forgettable and good animation is just not enough anymore today on the level of Pixar quality. There are many flaws with the story in here. First of all, the makers thrown in one character after the other without really elaborating on any of them. Honestly, counting all the (lost) pets, there are enough characters for three films in here. Another problem is their behavior. It felt a bit strange how they quickly stepped in for each other out of nowhere when moments before we still felt that they did not like each other at all and this refers to the two dogs as well as the fluffy white rabbit who turns out the main antagonist. We see all the time how evil and cold-hearted he is and then out of nowhere he risks his life for his enemies basically.

Another big problem I had with the film is that I had no idea what the characters' goals were throughout the film, at least for the two dogs. Enjoy a day out? Run from the lost pets? Run from the dog-catcher? They were just out there and it really had no purpose and then in the end they return home safely and it's all good with everybody being friends with everybody. I was not convinced at all. Also about the love interest of the main character, there was contradictory behavior. On one occasions she acts as if she wants nobody to know who she has a crush on and then she screams it out to everybody. It was pretty bizarre and the writing really lacked a lot on some occasions. This is also why my overall verdict for the film is negative. I give it a thumbs-down and if they ever make a sequel I must say I have very little interest in seeing it as this film was quite a disappointment and for me personally, it is nowhere near being a contender for best animated film of 2016, even with all the known voice actors in the German as well as English version. Not even for Louis C.K., everyone can be a winner.
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The secret life of pets
jayfemsantana28 July 2016
Whenever I got invited on a date to go watch this movie, I was kind of skeptical at first because it was a cartoon film and I haven't even watched the trailer. But whatever, free movie and yummy popcorn right?

To say the least, this movie took me off guard and laughed so much at the roles the characters had. It was such an adorable movie. Even though it was a kids movie, it had clues here and there about things adults would do and even say. Which made it even funnier! I couldn't give a bad review on this because I genuinely had a great time watching it. I definitely recommend it to anyone, including kids and adults as well Even if it's a cartoon film, it's definitely the kind to wait and hope for a second version.
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Pet Lover's Delight
ccorral41913 July 2016
It's a "Despicable Me" reunion (don't let that turn you away), as director Chris Renaud, writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, along with director Yarrow Cheney (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2018) gather to get inside the hearts and minds of our little furry/scaly/feathered friends. With fun music by Alexandre Desalt (The Danish Girl 2015), a list of Who's Who cool VO actors (Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Dana Carey, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell - the list goes on), and realistic animation courtesy of Illumination Entertainment, new, old and foreseeable pet owners (young and mature) will find great delight in this easy and entertaining to watch animation production. To the credit of the writers, all the obvious "pet jokes/mannerisms" and current society references aren't forced on the viewer at one time. Thus, the film keeps giving throughout. Sure, about 3/4 the way in the idea grows a bit old, but the cuteness factor quickly returns for a rewarding finish. FYI: Don't let the less than funny "DM" Short that pre-empetes the film cloud your judgment. While Children (and there are plenty in attendance) really enjoy all things "DM," there were few adults enjoying that experience. Illumination Entertainment is pre- viewing "Sing," due out in 2016, which also looks promising. Ruff, Ruff!
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Funny, Lighthearted, and Appropriate for All Ages!
evilpinklolita28 July 2016
I'm surprised this film got such a low overall score by users. I thought is was a blast. I am not an animated movie fan in the least. I normally like dark movies, dramas, sci-fi, and horror. This was the first animated film I have seen since Avatar, (which isn't the same type of animation really,) but when I watched the trailer last year, I thought it would probably be good. And it was.

The movie delivered exactly what it promised: laughs. It's not earth shattering, mind blowing, and it doesn't explain the meaning of life in 90 minutes. But it's not that type of movie. It's a summer escape film, one that is a little different from the 1000th superhero movie or Sequel #10 of The Current Film of Mediocrity, and one that you can bring your children to without worrying about covering their eyes and ears every scene. There are a couple of scenes of mild violence or almost violence, but they aren't any worse than Bugs Bunny and his adventures with the Roadrunner (I suppose that reference dates me lol).

What I liked the best about the movie is the way it demonstrates the thoughts and behaviors of the pets to the viewer. As a Great Dane owner, I often wonder what my dogs are thinking/doing, especially when I'm at work, and my ideas are similar to the writers. Their thoughts and conversations were the funniest parts of the film, and the scenes and soundtrack combined with the dialogue to form a lighthearted, enjoyable story.
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Flavorless but You Could Do Worse
bkrauser-81-31106420 July 2016
I start this review by first acknowledging there's nothing wrong with this film from a family-oriented entertainment point of view. It's colorful, it's fun at times, provides a positive message about acceptance and provides a clever enough high concept to keep the kids on their keesters for 80 minutes. As a rudimentary children's film, you certainly can do worse.

The problem with The Secret Lives of Pets stems from its complete inability to marry story, character and concept into a discernible package. As it stands, the film is rushed, bulky and is chalked full of nonsensical choices that cripples any verdant ideas that could have been. It's a first draft; not a final product.

The story begins with a happy Jack Russell Terrier named Max (C.K.) who lives with his owner Katie (Kemper) in a surprisingly roomy Manhattan apartment. Things change drastically and suddenly with the arrival of Duke (Stonestreet) a large, shaggy Newfoundland whose introduced as a "new brother" to Max's chagrin. They, of course don't get along and after a series of confrontations find themselves lost. The first to notice they're missing is a lovestruck Pomeranian named Gidget (Slate) who recruits the rest of Max's friends among others to recover them from the vast streets of New York City.

The rest of Max's friends are barely worth mentioning as they're mostly utilized to push the buttons and pull the levers on some uninspired comedic set-pieces. They're not really useful to the plot, nor do they succeed in being the Toy Story (1995)-inspired resilient and diverse gaggle the movie hopes they are. Part of the reason for this is none of the side characters actually solve any problems. They jet here, they jet there but when faced with any obstacles they just seem to rush it. Gone is the creativity of having Mr. Potato Head fashion a new body out of a tortilla; now we have elderly Basset Hound, Pops (Carvey) hobbling through construction sites with stalwart confidence.

Frankly focusing on the story's tagged-on villains might have paid more dividends. The broad machinations of Snowball (Hart), a bunny with delusions of grandeur are easily the best part of the film, even if they remain painfully underdeveloped. Additionally his "Flushed Pets" group could have complicated Duke's allegiance to his new owner or more easily pegged Max as a fully socialized pet and therefore in need of re-education. Snowball was the best chance the movie had in getting audiences to truly know the characters we're supposed to be rooting for but instead they blew it on prolonged chase sequences and a sausage factory bit that goes absolutely nowhere.

And that gets me to the biggest problem I have with this film; the creators' approach to the high concept itself. The film tries to have its cake and eat it to, portraying characters with innately human characteristics but still clinging to the charming pet-like idiosyncrasies we know and love about our furry friends. For example, Gidget recruits the help of Tiberius (Brooks) a hawk who at first tries to eat her. She barely escapes his talons only to trust him once more because that's just what a peppy little dog would do. Max's friends Mel (Moynihan) and Buddy (Buress) don't even notice Max is gone because, being dogs, they're distracted by butterflies and squirrels. They're certainly not a rag-tag group of lovable rogues, they're a confederacy of dunces, successful only because of the ever changing allegiances of the main antagonist. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention Snowball at one point joins forces with Max to save Duke in a climactic sequence so blithely unnatural it renders the friends search and rescue completely moot.

This film is a rushed, characterless, flavorless kids film that just barely stretches its plot over the skeleton of its story structure. As I said before, if all you're looking for is a bland and forgettable family film, you could do worse. Yet provided it's appealing concept, you'd really think the animation studio that made Despicable Me (2010) could do better.
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Well written, enjoyable movie
tazdaddy2310 July 2016
I was thoroughly entertained by this movie. The writing was excellent, made my wife, youngest son, and myself constantly laugh, which isn't always easy for all 3 of us, simultaneously. The character development for these characters was interesting, as we were shown many facets of their psyche, which made it even more entertaining. I was waiting for the spot in the movie that would make me roll my eyes, as I find in most animated movies I have previously viewed, but it never happened. The adding of the little Minions vignette was hilarious to me, but not my family, which is fine, especially since I haven't seen either one of the Despicable movies, nor the Minion movie. A great family movie, 10 out of a 10 for me was a must...!!
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Worth to watch
dalysman9 August 2016
I was waiting for this movie since first trailer was launched. And when i had opportunity to watch it, i was more than happy. Great story line, reminds me Garfield and his new "friend" dog. Many characters such as lazy cat and hamster who can't find his way home made movie incredible funny. I love Kevin Hart voice and his expressions being that little, loud and angry bunny makes it more interesting. The writing was excellent, made my mom, youngest sister, and myself constantly laugh. To the targeted demographic that the film focuses on, this film will be a sure fire box office hit to them. I hope that there will be a second part of this life of pets.
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A good mix between toy story and bolt
adamhobbs-9449518 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A great film with good humour and likable characters If your going to watch this film, watch it for the rabbit Kevin Hart kills it as the over the top villain The soundtrack is also very good, it fits the film well Lenord takes your stereotypical views of poodles and flips it the other way The constant fight between cats and dogs is funny And, I won't spoil it but there is an awesome fight scene at the end There are classic animation sad moments The plot is also good it starts of like toy story with a new dog coming home from the pound and the original and the new dogs do not agree to say the least. The two end up fighting and get caught by the pest control in the process due to a gang of cats. The get broken out by a bunny rabbit and his goons (a pig and a lizard) and briefly become friends until the rabbit finds out the two dogs have an owner. Then they go on the run with the rabbit and his gang close behind. Meanwhile gidget and the rest of the pets in the block realise max is gone and try to find him. With the help of an old dog and a birds they get to max and duke just in time to stop the gang from killing them both. Before this max found out that duke had an owner before Katie, and when they realise they are near his old house so the try's to get duke confront his old owner when they get there they find out that a new family live there and duke old owner has died. Then duke gets caught by pet control again (who have also been after the two) , also caught are snowballs friends the pig and lizard so max and him Join forces to take down the pet control, which they do, but push the van off the edge of the Brooklyn bridge in the process. The pig and the lizard escape. It takes a little while to save duke but they do in the end. And they all go home No seriously, the bunny rabbit It is mind blowing Also to answer the question of someone in the message board, there is a Guini pig
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the secret life of pets
windlepaul4 August 2016
I went to see this with my sister and my cousins and we enjoyed it. It was funny silly and my favorite illumination movie it's worth a watch and it is definitely better than minions it is fun for the whole family. I could not stop laughing at this movie it so many great characters. the cast is pure amazing my favorite character was Kevin Hart's character snowball he was the most funniest character in the movie I don't know why this movie has a 6.8 it should have at least a 7.8. It brought me laughs from beginning to end. This movie will hopefully inspire illumination to make make new franchises next or you know despicable me 3 it's defiantly going to be that.
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Will do for pets, what Toy Story did for toys
DarkVulcan295 August 2016
Well known Pets are friends in the neighborhood, until one incident separates two dogs from there owner, there friends who are also pets must band together to find them.

The movie makes you realize the joy of having a pet, made me remember my dog who passed away years ago. The voice actors really do well with there characters. It's a fun adventure and misadventure also. The animation is amazing, not Toy Story amazing, but amazing. Awesome to see all kinds of animals working together. Kids and adults I believe will enjoy this. Will make really enjoy owning a pet, and what a pet means to you.
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The best kids movie this side of the summer
abisio10 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If you are looking for a movie full of dramatic moments; slow pace and sadness; that basically bore your kids but make the critics praise as a masterpiece; stop reading and go to see some PIXAR / Disney movie (like Dory or Zootopia) and watch your kids get impatient to get out of the cinema.

If on the other hand; you want your kids to laugh non-stop for about 90 minutes and you enjoy with them; then do not loose one minute, get tickets for the Secret Life of Pet and start laughing on the first minute with the Minions short and keep doing it short until the very end of titles. There is some moral message about friendship, trust and love; but it will be guilty pleasure laugh and a few suspenseful moments.

***SPOILER AHEAD**** Word of advice and possible spoiler; Snowball (the rabbit) is the most twisted character seen lately in movies; it can easily be part of an horror movie; but as played by Kevin Hart; it is historically funny whenever on screen. The same can be said for Gidget (played by Jenny Slate); her transition from a white sweet puppy to a dangerous and terrifying fighter is another of the top moments of the movie. ****END OF SPOILER****

In brief; it will not win any Oscars; but is still the funniest movie of the summer.
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A great movie for kids, greatly animated, AMAZING music, great story line, FUNNY!
kanssdev9 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Amazing. The trees were all vibrant colors, the pets had amazing animation. The city itself was so detailed I wondered how long it took to make. The water flows so nicely. The jokes were hilarious, tons of kids (and adults) laughed and giggled the whole time. Although seeming very intense at times, the music flows great and goes great with the story line. This movie teaches a slight bit of friendship, and adaptation. I rate this 10/10 because I find it very understandable, laughable, and friendly. All in all, a great movie to watch with the whole family. Also, each character has its own personality which adds to the movie!
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Fun Family film
jdwaste30 July 2016
Very fun and entertaining movie for the whole family, lots of laughs and surprises. My 3 year old (also named Chloe) actually behaved throughout the whole movie, of which she was also holding on to her stuffed Chloe Doll that she picked up earlier that afternoon. After the movie she commented that their were two Chloe's now. For a movie that didn't have a lot of media attention I am glad I took the family to see it and it was money well spent, fun for the whole family. My favorite part would have to be the one that they show in the trailers, such as when the poodle switches the music from classical to heavy metal. There I think that is ten lines.
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A great animated film for all pet lovers
ja_kitty_7127 July 2016
I got curious about this movie after seeing the trailers. Then my mom and I saw it in the theatre; I thought it is another great animated movie of the year. Also Max & Gidget are my favorite characters.

The story is about Max living a good life in his New York apartment with his beloved owner Katie. That is until Katie brings home a big, shaggy stray name Duke, who Max thought is trying to muscle in on his happy home. One day during a walk with the dog-walker, the resentive Duke tricks Max into travelling far into the city, and they are attacked by a feral cat gang in an alley. The cats remove Max and Duke's collars and the dogs are caught by the city's Animal Control. Fortunately the two dogs were saved by a rogue band called "The Flushed Pets". That is all I could tell you folks.

I don't have a favorite scene (as I said many times), because I love the whole film from beginning to end. I also love the movie's humor and great animation. One more thing to point out is that Max was so cute as a puppy! So overall, this is a great film for all pet lovers.
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An instant classic
Grampy201611 July 2016
Just saw this hilarious, heartwarming and inspiring movie with my grandchildren. The jam- packed theater was literally rocking with the joyous giggles and laughter of the children. However, at times, the kids' delighted outbursts were overwhelmed by the raucous guffaws of adults appreciating the keen, sophisticated sense of humor of the director. As a native New Yorker, I was especially impressed that an animated film could truly capture the essence and heart of our wonderful city. I wasastinished to see so many people leaving the theater getting right back on line to purchase tickets for future performances; as dozens of people had been turned away from this showing and those for the remainder of the weekend . This is a wholesome, must-see movie for pet lovers and children of all ages! Don't miss it!
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