REVIEW | The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

What do pets do as soon as you leave the house? That's the "secret" this animated movie aims to reveal. That delicious voyeuristic opportunity one is given to finally see their pets' secret activities.

Of course, The Secret Life of Pets is a fantasy comedy-adventure, and with a concept similar to Toy Story, you expect your adorable cuddly companions' life behind closed doors to be funnier than what you see. But in this case, you are given more slapstick comedy than wit. No surprise, as this is created by the same people behind the slapstick phenomenon Despicable Me and the iconic Minions

The humor seems to be inspired by countless YouTubes of pets in funny accidents, their basic behavior, plus some anthropomorphic behavior mostly seen in Millenials, like wild house parties.

The story is set in New York, with a magical quality to it. Everything looks so Woody Allen New York. Enchanting and hip. And we are taken into the gorgeous Manhattan apartment of our hero, Max (Louis C.K.), a terrier owned by Katie (Ellie Kemper). When Katie brings in a new pet, Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a giant shaggy dog, the rivalry between the two spirals out of control until they find themselves in trouble. So this is a buddy comedy after all.

Max's neighborhood friends, led by a posh Pomeranian, Gidget (Jenny Slate), venture out to find and bring Max home. And so the adventure begins. The villain? A Kevin Hart-voiced rabbit named Snowball—the contrast of a tame-looking super-cute cottontail with an evil agenda and with a voice like an angry evangelist does not work. It is corny.

If you are no fan of slapstick like me, this animated film will bore you. The plot is nothing special, and the dialogue are mostly forced and trite, inducing only a couple of chuckles. But if you are all out for slapstick, and/or a fan of Despicable Me and the Minions, you might very well enjoy it.

2.5 out of 5 stars
Opens August 24, 2016 in Philippine cinemas

Photo credit: Universal Pictures


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