College kids will enjoy “Pets” as much as kids



CJ Housh

There is no description for The Secret Life of Pets other than charming. That’s pretty much it. I could end the review of the film here and you’d get no more or less than if I wrote another three columns. Okay, well, let’s try anyway.

The Secret Life of Pets follows the dog Max, who lives in New York City with his owner Katie. He has many animal friends in his apartment building, all of whom gather together to try to save him after Duke, a new dog Katie brings home, gets the two dogs lost. Max and Duke must overcome their differences to face challenges, like dog catchers and the society of flushed pets that live in the sewers, and find a way back to their Manhattan skyrise from the distant land of Brooklyn.

That may have been the most formulaic review I’ve ever done, and in a way that’s the only real issue with the film. I liked the movie; it wasn’t a bad use of 90 minutes. The movie was cute, and it was also pretty funny. There just wasn’t a lot of substance.

Let me explain: within the movie there is an underground anti-human coalition of animals that Max and Duke encounter. They are led by an adorable little fluffy white bunny named Snowball, voiced by Kevin Hart, who wants to murder all humans. Kevin Hart’s voice coming out of a fluffy bunny is iconoclastic, and therefore funny.

That’s great, but the main character is voiced by Louis C.K., a comedian whose comedy stylings typically range from creative descriptions of genitals to screaming about how vastly unattractive he is. He’s a very funny comedian, but all of his comedy is very adult in nature. Maybe he’s toned down since the last time I saw him, but it seems like a pretty poor use of your Louis C.K. When Lewis Black, a comedian known for enraged pointing and unrestrained use of curse words, was cast as the emotion Anger in Inside Out, I was able to understand that. Even though his dialogue was toned down for the kiddies, the delivery was perfect, but I feel that Louis C.K., while good at what he does, is wasted here.

Also, this film was directed by the directors of Despicable Me, a film which I get very tired of being reminded was good.

They sure as hell won’t let me forget it, because they put Minions on everything in the world from cups to Pop Tarts to the production company logo and I’ll be damned if they didn’t fit in a Minion dog costume. Despicable Me was a cute little film six years ago; you don’t need to hit me over the head with the film reel until I sustain brain damage.

All in all, however, Secret Life of Pets was an entertaining, charming movie you won’t regret seeing. Take your kids, or jealously enjoy it yourself in Phelps Theater this Thursday, October 13, at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. with an encore at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 14.