For the moment, the gag of talking animals might have run out of steam. The Secret Life of Pets is strong evidence of this.
The Secret Life of Pets Synopsis
Jack Russell Terrier Max lives with his owner Katie in a Manhattan apartment. During the day, when Katie is out for work, Max also hangs out with other pets in the building, such as tabby cat Chloe and dachshund Buddy. One day, to Max’s disgust and horror, Katie adopts another dog, a large and ungainly mongrel named Duke. In their blotched efforts to rid themselves of each other, Max and Duke end up captured by Animal Control. They must then work together, if they wish to return to their comfy Manhattan haven.
I much looked forward to The Secret Life of Pets, the trailer for which had been running for months. Earlier in the year, I deeply enjoyed Disney’s Zootopia, which set my appetite for more talking animal cuteness. At the same time, I was also quite tickled by the trailer, particularly how the Dachshund so innovatively gave itself a back massage.
Alas, what a let-down the movie turned out to be. No thanks to uneven, faltering dialogue, and how the entire movie revolved around one gag. That of pets talking and behaving like humans once owners are out for work.
There was no secrecy or development to this revelation, in other words, with the trailer practically giving away all the good parts since last year. Bored before a quarter of the movie was over, I started wondering whether this was just one of those movies meant for very young audiences. A convenient outing for parents bereft of ideas on how to entertain their kids.
Alas again, this wasn’t the case too. The row of kids in front of me in the cinema laughed as little as I did. They were also quite eager to leave the moment the credits came on. I regret to say, I more than shared the same great urge.
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