Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2016 animated movie starring Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet.

Synopsis: Ever since he was a puppy, Max's life has revolved around his owner, Katie, who he sees as his soul mate. However, his life is turned upside down when Katie rescues a larger dog named Duke who, sensing Max's insecurity, attempts to become the alpha dog. When Max and Duke become lost in the city and lose their collars, they must work together as a team to avoid animal control, fend off a gang of anti-human animals and find their way home.

Who's In It?

The animated movie uses voices from Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Bobby MoynihanKevin Hart, Ellie Kemper and Albert Brooks.


Even though I love movies, I very rarely spend the money to see them at the theater. However, my wife and I do make an exception every July and take our daughters to the theater as part of their birthday celebrations. We continued this tradition yesterday when we took them to see the film "The Secret Life of Pets."

We originally saw the trailer for this movie last year, when we took them to see "Minions" for their birthdays. And, while it looked funny in the previews, I wasn't really sure if it was going to be as good as it looked or if it would be a predictable disappointment. As it turns out, it was actually an entertaining movie.

I think the thing I liked best about this film was the wide variety of adventures Max (Louis C.K.) and Duke (Stonestreet) found themselves in. At first, it looked like they would have to escape the animal shelter. Then they found themselves surrounded by an army of discarded pets. Their adventure also led to a sad trip down memory lane for Duke as well as a pretty funny trip to the sausage factory.

Helping this movie immensely was the variety of supporting characters. The militant bunny, Snowball (Hart), was as cute and funny as he was dangerous and Max's friends from his apartment building made an entertaining rescue team, especially when they added the aging and paralyzed hound, Pops (Dana Carvey) to their group. It was really funny watching the rest of them trying to keep up.

Probably the only thing I would caution parents on is the movie, at times, has a bit of a roller coaster effect. We were watching the 2-dimensional version of the film yesterday and those scenes were proving to be a bit disorienting. I could only imagine how it would have been in 3-D. If you have a child who gets motion sickness easily (as I do), it is worth keeping that in mind but, fortunately, it was only a small portion of a surprisingly good movie.

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Final Opinion

I had some doubts about this movie. However, it did turn out to be a decent, funny family movie that our whole family enjoyed. I would recommend it as a result.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/23/2017, StevenHelmer
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