‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ Review Roundup: What Did The Animated Comedy Get Right And Wrong?

The Secret Life of Pets reviews are in, and critics all seem to agree on one thing. The family film which promises a peek into what our fur-babies really do when we aren’t around fails to impress.

Even though it might steal the number one spot at the box office, it isn’t likely to stay there due to the consensus that we’ve seen it all before.

The concept is that when we leave for work and such, our pets suddenly talk and go on adventures. It all begins to ring a little too familiar when Max, voiced by actor and comedian Louis C.K., meets a new dog his owner adopted. Duke is large and goofy, and Max is instantly worried that Duke is going to take over as his owner’s best friend.

The Root claims that this film is another example of how animated movie studios haven’t made a true “family” film since the days of Aladdin. These days they realize that if they want to expand their audience, they have to sneak in some dark or suggestive humor as well for the adults. They claim it’s taking a story about black power and white privilege and then forgetting what it wants to do from there.

The Secret Life of Pets reviews all seem to point to how similar it is to Pixar’s Toy Story, but without any of the charm which made it a classic. Illumination Entertainment seems content to draw the audience in with cute characters and then recycle other movies. Considering that they are the makers of the Despicable Me series, that much is clear. Despicable Me was basically Megamind with more of a Saturday morning cartoon feel, throwing in minions for the kids. The fact that Megamind’s sidekick’s name was Minion almost makes it too obvious what they were aiming for.

Other The Secret Life of Pets reviews say that the main characters, Max and Duke, are both given a personality before it’s all thrown away for a bigger story. It devolves into a kind of re-hash of Tom and Jerry, where the two just end up competing to see who can be the more horrible creature, literally.

Kevin Hart lends his voice to what is being called a one-note joke, the adorable bunny Snowball, who just happens to be angry and homicidal. The Star-Tribune says he’s the almost ironic equivalent of the raging activist, leading a group of “flushed” pets on a quest to destroy the humans who rejected him.

None of the reviews seem to even mention that poodle at the end of the trailers: You know, the one whose prissy owner leaves and not even a second later, he’s banging his head to some thrash metal. Many of us will probably see the film just to see how that fits into the story, or if it got left on the cutting room floor.

On the positive side of the Secret Life of Pets reviews, it does retain its funny moments just like the Despicable Me series did. The slapstick was well-done and Snowball’s angry antics earned a chuckle.

The Secret Life of Pets reviews all seem to agree there is nothing original about it. If you do see it, lower your expectations like you probably did for The Expendables and you might enjoy it.

[Image via Illumination Entertainment]