Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets is fuzzy fun

Movie Title:      The Secret Life of Pets
Grade:  A-

Rating: PG, 90 minutes  

In a Nutshell:  This high energy family flick by Universal and Illumination is colorful and fun for all ages.  

Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud, the visual gags, lines and chase scenes come at you non-stop with just the right touch of heartwarming “ahhs.”  It’s oddly therapeutic, like you’ve just been playing with your own pet for 90 minutes.  

Uplifting theme: 
  • Friendship
  • Love

Things I liked:
  • I love the opening New York City scene.  You just can’t go wrong making a movie with the Big Apple as one of your characters.
  • You’ll recognize Jenny Slate’s voice from the adorable Zootopia movie.  She has such a unique voice that she has a great future in animated family films.
  • The animators clearly have pets.  They nailed the body movements and pet expressions.
  • It’s fast-paced with humor that even parents will get a kick out of.
  • The talented cast includes Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Steve Coogan, Dana  Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan and more.  I adore Jaime Camil in the popular TV sit-com “Jane the Virgin”, so I was happy to hear his melodramatic, over-acted Latino voice as Fernando in a telenovela that Gidget watches.
  • I laughed out loud at the sea monkey's comment because I had thought the very same thing after buying some.
  • The story about how dogs are descended from wolves.  Ha ha
  • Cute and perky music by Alexandre Desplat.
  • Keep watching after the first set of credits at the end.  At the very end, you hear Pops yell, “Alright, party’s over!”

Things I didn’t like:
  • See it in 3D if you want to see dog drool flying towards you.
  • It’s chaotic, so you'll probably want to take a nap with your dog afterwards. 
  • Isn’t this story basically Toy Story with animals?  Think about it.
  • Kevin Hart’s character Snowball screams during the entire movie, which can grate on your nerves. 
  • The French animation studio, Illumination, really pushes the envelope for family entertainment, because this movie has violence, sexual innuendo, and a few jokes that are inappropriate for American sensibilities.
  • You see most of the cute moments in the movie trailer within the first 10 minutes of the film.
  • Snowball is a total psycho and the action sequences with him escalate into the absurd by the end.

Funny lines:
  • “Where is Max?  Tell me!  Don’t look at him.  Look at me.” -  Gidget (Jenny Slate)
  • “I feel heroic…and handsome…a little wet, but I look good.  I look good.” – Snowball
  • “I’m your friend, and as your friend, I gotta be honest.  I don’t care about you or your problems.” – Chloe
  • “We gotta take the secret route!” – Pops
“Ok, the secret route was death.” – Chloe
  • “Nobody could ever love a cat like they love a dog.  I’m just saying.” – Max
  • “Dog people do weird, inexplicable things like they get dogs instead of cats.” – Chloe
  • “You’re not doing great, but you’re not drowning…and that’s something!” – Duke  (Eric Stonestreet)
  • “You may have lots of time, but for me, every minute is a cliffhanger.” – Pops (Dana Carvey)
  • “This is groundbreaking evil behavior, people!” – Snowball
  • “Oh, great. You’re in love.  How gross for everyone.” - Pops

Tips for parents:   

  • It will make you want to line the walls of your house with web cams to see what your pets really do when you’re gone.
  • Because the target audience is young, plan on butt-sniffing, rabbit pooping, and nervous peeing jokes.
  • Your kids are DEFINITELY going to want a pet after seeing this.

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