I can’t remember when the first teaser trailer for The Secret Life of Pets came out. It seems like well over a year ago now and it continued to pop up among cinema trailers on a regular basis ever since then. You know the one I mean – lots of different pet owners go out for day leaving their pets to get up to all kinds of hilarious mischief. It was very, very funny and appealed to both kids and adults. I remember thinking at the time how great it looked… but how the hell were they going to spin that concept out into a 90 minute movie?!
And then about a month or so ago they decided to bring out a new trailer. This one still included some of the home alone pet stuff that we’d already seen in the previous trailer, but it expanded things to reveal more of the big wide world and an actual story. And those bits just didn’t seem as funny or as interesting. By then though my daughter was already sold on the idea of seeing the movie, so I just hoped that I was wrong and that the humour of the first trailer was going to be there throughout the actual movie after all.
So, Max is a dog who lives with his owner Katie in New York. He loves her very much, but there is just one problem… she leaves him alone every day and he has no idea where she goes. All his pet friends have the same thing happen to them too and for the next few minutes of the movie, it’s pretty much the entire first trailer! When Katie returns home though, she’s brought a friend for Max – a big, energetic, overbearing hairy dog called Duke. Max becomes jealous and tries to get rid of him but it backfires and during a trip out to the park with a dog walker, the pair get involved in a fight with some alley cats and end up being captured. On their way to the pound, they get released by a very annoying rabbit played by Kevin Hart – and a pig! They wind up down in the sewers with the rabbit and pig and their huge gang of neglected pets. They end up killing a viper or something and start being chased and… I don’t know what happens next because I’m falling asleep…
And then Max and Duke break into a weiner factory, fill their bellies with weiners and enjoy a brilliantly hilarious dream sequence. This is a high point in the movie!
Meanwhile, Max and Dukes friends are looking for them and end up finding even more boring characters to help in their search. And then I start nodding off again and they’re back home and everything is fine just in time for Katie to come home.
When the movie is playing on the characteristics of cats and dogs, like it did in that first trailer, it’s brilliant. Any pet owner knows just how funny they can be. However, Secret Life of Pets spends too much time filling up the run time with other uninteresting characters and putting them in a pretty mediocre story.
But, this movie isn’t aimed at me or my age group, although any decent animated movie really should appeal to all ages. So, I asked my daughters what rating they’d give this…
My 11 year old daughter said she’d give it 3 or 4 stars. She liked it but there was too much going on and too many twists and turns for her liking.
My 17 year old daughter said she’d give it maybe 2 or 3 stars, but only because Kevin Hart was in it, and she likes Kevin Hart…
My watch-list of movies and TV shows continues to grow, while my spare time continues to shrink. Occasionally though, I’ll manage to tick one off the list, and then try to come up with some words about it that make me sound as though I know what I’m talking about. “Once he has discovered something, he wants to be off onto the next thing, rather than spending time and elaborating” – snippet from my primary school report, confirming that I am, and always have been, easily distracted.