What's the plot of this movie? Have you seen the first two Toy Story movies? Great, you've seen The Secret Life of Pets. Okay so there's more to the movie than that, but almost every plot point feels reminiscent of Toy Story, occasionally other Pixar, Dreamworks and even Illumination films, which makes the whole thing less funny, and more akin to a checklist. Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet are fine as Max and Duke, but they're both just weaker version of Woody and Buzz, making their journey that much less interesting, that is when the movie decides to focus on them anyway. Yup, this movie can't be bothered to at least make their budding friendship the focus for too long, we have to see the wacky hijinks of all supporting characters, resulting in a friendship that never stands out because we just get the bare minimum, but it's okay, as long as you've seen all the movies this is a copy of, why would you want to see anything unique?
Okay, in fairness, there are some positives here, for example Jenny Slate as Gidget, Max's love interest in the film. Putting aside Slate's always adorable voice, Gidget gets a few chuckles here and there with her determination to find Max being a bit of a highlight. I actually would've preferred the movie be about her rescue mission, a reversal on the damsel in distress trope? Great, not the most original, but it could be unique and funny, instead this is wasted on this film about a budding dog friendship, which also is about a revolt from abandoned pets, which is also about slice of life pet moments, which is also about making extended, go nowhere physical gags, what a waste. Gidget's quest even starts feeling like a lesser version of the rescue team from Toy Story 2, which is largely because the film spends only the bare minimum of time on this subplot, disappointing.
So The Secret Life of Pets, is a bunch of decent to great ideas wasted. Yes some of the humor gets a few good chuckles, but so much of the movie never focuses on a single aspect, resulting in anything unique feeling generic. Anything that could've been big, feels small scaled, which is something Illumination has made a habit of, turning plots with big ideas into small scale stories, which sucks because it means nothing is fully taken advantage of. Unless you're watching this with a young child, I recommend you skip this one, though in truth, even if your kid desires to see this, I'd still recommend you skip this in favor of a better film for all audiences.
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Written by Octaviano Macias