One begins to wonder how many “this is what the toys/pets/cars/planes/appliances do when you aren’t watching” films we’re expected to suffer through at this point, and The Secret Life of Pets isn’t helping. One of those odd-couple stories, Pets follows Max, a stereotypically dog-ish dog voiced by Louis CK—who we think probably just took the role because he has young daughters. Max totally loves his owner, Katie (a flat Ellie Kemper from Kimmy Schmidt), but when she brings home a dog named Duke (Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet), he has a hell of a time adjusting. Sure, they work it out after a series of zany adventures, but once the initial sickeningly cute factor has finished its full-frontal assault, Pets cracks under the pressure of how many times we’ve already seen this movie.
There’s an impressive cast featuring usually very funny actors and comedians like Albert Brooks, Jenny Slate, Steve Coogan and Dana Carvey, but not even they can save this movie from itself, and the formulaic drag of learning to love others for who they are remains tired. Most performances are fine, just fine, but Kevin Hart as an insane bunny (are we supposed to find it hilarious that a bunny probably wouldn’t talk or act like that?) is, at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, the absolute worst. Illumination Entertainment can be commended for their gorgeous and detailed New York City and for trying to throw in some weird stuff (like a psychedelic dreamland of living sausages singing from Grease), but even children will probably feel insulted by how utterly unfunny the final product winds up being.
The Secret Life of Pets
Violet Crown, Regal, DeVargas,