I watched Secret Life of Pets recently on TV and it is surprisingly funny. It is also surprisingly incoherent. The character development was awful. The interactions between main characters Max and Duke are very forced, and the audience is often invited to fill the gaps. But it was nonetheless enjoyable.
The story is about the social life of apartment pets in New York while their owners leave for work or whatever. They somehow manage to meet in adjoining units, via fire escape ladders, air vents, parkour etc. The main protagonist, Jack Russel Terrier Max, is one day forced to share his apartment with new housemate and co-pet big dog Duke. They dislike each other, and managed to get lost in New York City on the next day through the negligence of a dog-walker. They encounter feral city cats, dog catchers, a combat-savvy rabbit and his car-driving cronies and a sewer full of live flushed pets. Max’s love interest and fluffy white thing Gidget leads the neighbours, including an unrealistically abstinent falcon, to retrieve Max. Following a commotion at the Brooklyn Bridge, which includes the combat-savvy rabbit jumping off the bridge into river unscathed and rescuing Max and Duke from a submerged van, the momentarily loose pets return home with renewed camaraderie.
Secret Life of Pets is an insane film. The character developments are scattershot and the action is exaggerated. But Secret Life of Pets is hilarious and the humour is at times quite intelligent. It is an anti-Disney film. The only death scene (yes, there is a death scene!) would make any Disney exec bawl- a viper being crushed, first by some rubble then by large slabs of concrete and then set on fire. It’s refreshing to watch an animated film that does not attempt to mollycoddle kids or appease potentially uptight parents. And huge props for working a System of A Down track into the film (it was also in the trailer, but I didn’t think it would be part of the movie!)