The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell
Directed by: Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud
Written by: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min
If you have screened the trailers for The Secret Life of Pets, then you’ve already seen the movie’s best bits. Beyond a few obvious though admittedly nicely rendered observations of animal behavior, this movie has already marketed its best moments away and has nothing else to offer.
If the first full trailer for Pets got you thinking about Pixar’s, Toy Story, then you’re probably not alone as this movie’s central premise borrows heavily from that far superior animated film. It includes a threatened special relationship between an owner and pet (or Woody and Andy), leading to an adventure beyond the safe confines of home. Our heroes’ friends attempt to track down their missing friend, and our central lead duo are threatened by an external force that could end them (remember Sid?)
There are so many parallels between that Pixar classic, and this offering from the Minion people, it’s not even funny. If it wasn’t for a few fun moments with Snowball (Kevin Hart) as the manic human hating bunny, I’d write this movie off as derivative and dull. And the bunny was very likely inspired by Monty Python’s Rabbit of Caerdannog.
Having seen all the trailers for The Secret Life of Pets (which I honestly enjoyed), I was looking forward to this film. After about twenty minutes in, however, I was bored. The good jokes had already been used in the marketing, and the new content was predictable and solely designed to entertain kids. This isn’t a bad film, but it also isn’t very creative. If I hadn’t seen the trailers beforehand, I might have rated this higher.
If you can, avoid the trailers! They give too much away.
Kevin Hart as Snowball.