MOVIE REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets

written by David Steffen

The Secret Life of Pets is an Illumination Entertainment animated adventure film about dogs and cats and other pets getting into adventures in New York City.  What do your pets do when you’re away at work every day?  What you probably didn’t say is that all the pets in your apartment building sneak out of their apartments and meet up with the other pets in the building to hang out.  But, apparently that’s what they do.

Max, a Jack Russell terrier voiced by Louis CK, is used to it being just him and his owner Katie at night.  And during the day, he just wants to wait loyally for her, despite his Pomeranian friend Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) and other pets in the building getting together. One day Katie brings home a big mutt named Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) and they become unwilling roommates, leaving Max jealous because his time with Katie now has to be shared.  He tries to abandon Duke in an alley, but a gang of alley cats steal their collars and leave them for Animal Control.  Gidget, realizing her friend is missing, gets the pets of the building together to find Max.

The high point of the movie is that there are some particularly good comedy lines, that feel almost like they were prepared for stand-up comedy–makes me wonder if the comedian voice actors wrote some of the lines themselves.

My favorite character in the movie is Snowball, an adorable and fluffy and psychotic white bunny rabbit that leads a violent resistance of abandoned pets that lives in the sewers.

If you’re big on plots, this movie is very light on that aspect.  It is not so much a plot as a random series of events that coincidentally leads to a conclusion by always conveniently putting the solution to a problem in the same place as the problem.

This is a fun movie with good funny writing and lots of great voice talent.  Fun for adults and kids alike.  There are some laugh out loud moments and really good comedy lines in there, delivered well.  It’s not what you’d call a deep movie, it’s nothing that will change your life forever, but it’s fun and there is plenty of spectacle to keep you busy.  My kid loves it so I’ve seen it at least a dozen times, and it’s not the worst movie to see a bunch of times (though I’d rather watch Zootopia, for instance).

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David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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