We used to have a few pet guppies at home. Everyday, we would feed them, watch them eat, swim around mindlessly, and sometimes chase each other around. Sometimes, I would wonder if they had secret lives of their own inside that little fishbowl. Maybe the female one was actually a femme fatale in their world, and the male guppy who kept stinging the other male was an ace detective who was trying to protect her from a crook. Guppy noir, anyone?
Anyway, the point is, if you have ever wondered whether your pets live secret lives whenever you are not around, then The Secret Life Of Pets is for you. But before you think this is another generic Toy Story clone (with animals instead of toys), consider this: How many times have you seen a movie with a cute, white, fluffy, homicidal, revolution-leading bunny rabbit? (No, Roger Rabbit does not count.)
The story focuses on spoilt pet dog Max (Louis C.K.) whose whole world revolves around his owner Katie, and his friends: a fat cat named Chloe (Lake Bell), excitable pug Mel (Bobby Moynihan), resourceful dachshund Buddy (Hannibal Buress), a white Pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate) who also has a crush on Max, and a budgerigar named Sweetpea.
Then one day, his world is turned upside down when Katie brings home another dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), and when Max’s efforts to get rid of his new rival go horribly wrong, they end up deep underground, where they meet Snowball (Kevin Hart), leader of the Flushed Pets revolution that is out to make humans pay for deserting their pets.
Truth be told, the whole movie is rather run of the mill up until the bunny comes along. Sure, it’s interesting to see all the different antics of pets (the metal-loving head-banging French poodle, especially, rocked) but there’s really nothing to shout about until the bunny starts doing the shouting and threatening bodily harm to Max and his friends. After that, you really don’t want them to put the bunny back in the box.
Seriously, Hart does such a magnificent job voicing a maniacal bunny that you wish they’d make a movie starring just Snowball.
Heck, they could pit him against the Penguins Of Madagascar, or the Minions. Now that’s a movie I’d wager my carrots on.
Rabbit aside, the movie has its moments. One particular scene featuring an old fogey basset hound named Pops (Dana Carvey) is especially funny, as is the introduction of Albert Brooks’ Tiberius, a red-tailed hawk who has to resist his predatory urges to help Gidget and the other pets find Max and Duke.
This has been a pretty good year for animated features featuring talking animals so far, with Zootopia, Finding Dory, and to a certain extent, Kubo And The Two Strings, flying the flag high for the genre.
The Secret Life Of Pets is a decent addition to the list, and though I’d place it below the aforementioned three movies, it’s still a much better watch than, say, Ice Age: Collision Course, and The Angry Birds Movie.
It’s fun, entertaining and perfect for a nice family outing to the movies. Just look out for the homicidal bunny, and if you hear anything suspicious, make sure you tell my ace guppy detective.
The Secret Life Of Pets
Directors: Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
Voice cast: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Jenny Slate, and Albert Brooks