At the premiere showing of The Secret Life of Pets, almost every single seat in the large theater at Village Theatre was filled with viewers young and old who came to see the highly anticipated movie about what our pets do when we’re not home. The story’s main character Max is a dog who adores his owner Katie. Life is dog-gone perfect until Katie comes home one day with an unwelcome surprise, a “brother” dog named Duke.
Max is jealous, and wants nothing to do with the big, sloppy dog who’s vying for Katie’s attention. Duke, on the other hand, just wants to be loved, and is confused as to why Max doesn’t like him. Rather than put up with the cold shoulder from Max though, Duke decides that he’s not going to let a little dog like Max send him back to the pound.
While out for a walk in their home city of New York, both Max and Duke wind up off their leashes as Duke leads them out on an unintended adventure together. Can the pair learn to become friends? Can they overcome their own insecurities and become just as loyal to each other as they are to Katie?
As they try to find their way home, the duo encounter numerous obstacles, including a bunny named Snowball who has a bad attitude toward people in general. Are the dogs willing to give up being “owned” to follow Snowball? Will they ever make their way home again?
Meanwhile, Max’s friends, including fellow dogs, a cat, parakeet, and Guinea pig, who all live in his apartment building, together are out searching for him and his new roommate. The team of friends who set out to rescue Max and Duke are led by the adorable dog Gidget, who will stop at nothing to rescue them because she’s head over paws for Max.
This movie was everything I wanted it to be and so much more! I absolutely loved it! As a dog owner myself, I’ve frequently wondered what my precious Pippa is up to when I’m not home. It was hysterical watching the pets in this movie acting like humans while their owners are at work, and the personification of each pet was endearing. It was apparent that the geniuses who created this masterpiece are all pet lovers themselves! With precision they captured the different personality traits of various breeds of dogs, and their depiction of each breed was spot on. The stereotypical indifference that cats tend to show toward their owners as well as their self-absorbed tendencies were also highlighted cleverly.
The animation was flawless, and the cast chosen to voice the characters was perfect. So many of the voices sounded familiar, and I couldn’t wait to watch the credits at the end to figure out which actors and actresses brought the pets to life on the big screen.
My husband Mike, my nine year old daughter Addie, and her friend Libby joined me. All four of us agreed it was a hit. After the movie Addie kept talking about her favorite character Snowball, voiced by Kevin Hart, giggling at how “hysterical” he was. Libby said she “definitely” wants to see it again, and asked if we think they’ll make a sequel. Both girls agreed they want to get it as soon as it’s released on DVD. Mike concluded, “I know it’s a kids’ movie, but I honestly would’ve enjoyed it even if we saw it without the kids.”
There are so many good lessons to be learned from this movie. Go see it! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Just beware that you may never look at your pets the same way again!
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Directors: Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
Actors/Voices: Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Eric Stonestreet, Louis C.K., Steve Coogan, Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes