The Secret Life of Pets Parent Guide

After introducing the creative premise, the plot becomes as hyperactive and directionless as a new puppy.

Overall B-

Do you know what your pet does while you're away? This animation about a group of cats, dogs, bunnies, etc. living in Manhattan depicts some of those mysterious and surprising goings-on.

Release date July 8, 2016

Violence B-
Sexual Content B+
Profanity A-
Substance Use A-

Why is The Secret Life of Pets rated PG? The MPAA rated The Secret Life of Pets PG for action and some rude humor.

Run Time: 90 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Have you ever wondered what your pet does while you’re away? Imagining an answer to that question appears to be the inspiration for this animation. Likewise, the opening few minutes of The Secret Life of Pets shows some very funny ways dogs, cats, birds and a lost guinea pig find to amuse themselves during those long, lonely hours. But after introducing that creative premise the story sort of peters out of original ideas.

Focusing mostly on Max (voice of Louis C.K.), a patchy pooch devoted to his owner Katie (voice of Ellie Kemper), things really begin the day she comes home with an unwelcomed surprise – a large scraggy stray named Duke (voice of Eric Stonestreet). Jealousy starts immediately as the forced roommates attempt to establish who will be the alpha dog.

This rivalry eventually gets the pair lost in the streets of New York City where they meet up with the Flushed Pets Gang. Led by a nasty bunny (voice of Kevin Hart), these scrappy survivors are intent on getting vengeance on the humans who have abandoned and/or abused them. (Some of the members of this group are shown with muzzles or cages stuck on them.) Max and Duke quickly realize their only hope for escaping from the unsavory sewer-dwellers is learning to work together. Unbeknownst to either of them, a rescue mission is being launched from home by Max’s neighborhood friends: Gidget a feisty white puffball (voice of Jenny Slate), a dachshund known as Buddy (voice of Hannibal Buress), a pug named Mel (voice of Bobby Moynihan), a fat cat called Chloe (voice of Lake Bell) and an unlikely ally—Tiberius a bird of prey (voice of Albert Brooks). Meanwhile a pair of animal control officers are ready to catch the lot of them.

With a plot as hyperactive and directionless as a new puppy, the frenetic action bounces between scenes of silly antics and crude pet behavior (such as sniffing/licking private body parts and urinating/defecating), to dangerous situations and terrifying bad guys (some with intentions to kill or eat others). Although sexual innuendo and profanities are happily almost non-existent, this screenplay is still hard to recommend because older audiences will likely find it too juvenile, while little ones are sure to be frightened.

As well, seasoned movie goers are certain to recognize how this script has borrowed from other productions. For instance, Toy Story depicts the secret life of playthings, Bolt follows a group of animals trying to find their way home, Hoodwinked stars another raging rabbit, and An American Tale is also set in NYC with villains who hide out in the sewers.

Pet owners will perhaps be the best bet for fans of this film. They are the most likely to be able to relate to the way people dote over their four-legged children, and to chuckle at the outlandish behavior these trusted companions could be up to during the daylight hours when their masters disappear.

Directed by Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney. Starring Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release July 8, 2016. Updated

The Secret Life of Pets
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Secret Life of Pets rated PG? The Secret Life of Pets is rated PG by the MPAA for action and some rude humor.

Violence: Slapstick antics and non-graphic violent depictions are frequent. Some of these portrayals are frightening and will likely scare young viewers. Threats of bodily harm and death are made. Characters discuss using a blender to kill someone. Characters face perilous situations, including being eaten, falling from heights, getting lost, chased and impounded. Characters nearly drown, others are crushed. Death is implied. Dangerous driving occurs and vehicle crashes result. Bones of dead animals are shown. Property damage and stealing occur. Many characters engage in behavior they know would be prohibited if their owners were present.

Sexual Content: The screenplay includes mild potty humor, a hit to the groin and comedic depictions of bodily functions (vomiting, urination and defecation). Animals lick and smell private body parts. Characters embrace and kiss.

Language: Characters engage in name-calling and other insults.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A character recounts an experience when he was given a tranquillizer drug.

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The Secret Life of Pets Parents' Guide

What do you think your pet does while you are away from home? Is it nearly as exciting as the activities portrayed here? Why do you think these trusty companions are always excited when you return?

Not all pets are treated with love and care. What types of abuse are depicted in this movie? What can be done to insure animals are treated humanely? Although the dog catchers are portrayed as bad guys in this animation, what role do they really play in keeping humans and animals safe? Did you know that you can look for volunteer opportunities at your local animal shelter?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Secret Life of Pets movie is December 6, 2016. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Secret Life of Pets
Release Date:  6 December 2016
Secret Life of Pets releases to home video (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) with the following special features:
- How to Make an Animated Film – A behind-the-scenes look at how to make an animated film from the various departments that make up Illumination. (Blu-ray exclusive)
- Anatomy of a Scene – Filmmakers and animators take us through the multi-step process it takes to create a specific scene in the Secret Life of Pets (Blu-ray exclusive)
- 3 Mini-Movies: Norman Television, Weenie, and Mower Minions
- All About The Pets – Kevin Hart and Eric Stonestreet, with the help of animal trainer Molly Mignon O’Neill take you on an educational journey to learn more about your average and not-so average, household pets.
- Animals Can Talk: Meet The Actors – The comedy superstars who give voice to the film’s menagerie of characters talk about their roles and the process of bringing them to life.
- Hairstylist To The Dogs – Inspired by “Hairspray Live!,” Eric Stonestreet, with the help of a professional dog groomer Jess Rona, will take you through the basic steps to help your pups look as awesome as possible when they’re hanging out with their pet pals.
- The Best Of Snowball – A rapid-fire, fun and oddly musical mash-up of all the best Snowball one-liners
- Hot Dog Sing-Along – Join Max and Duke as they perform for their dinner in the sausage factory. This straightforward sing along is fun for the whole family to enjoy.
- Sing Trailer
- “Lovely Day” Lyric Video
- The Humans that Brought You Pets – Producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and writer Brian Lynch discuss what went into creating The - Secret Life of Pet’s compelling characters and non-stop action.
- GoPro®: The Secret Life of Pets
- The Making of the Mini-Movies – A fun and interesting take on the Making of the Mini-Movies – we’ll explore the themes of each of the mini-movies through the eyes of the artists who made them.

Related home video titles:

Play things also have a secret life, as depicted in Toy Story. Abandoned and lost pets form a pact in Bolt. Jealousy motivates a vengeful plot in in Hoodwinked. And a misplaced mouse looks for home while avoiding some unsavory sewer dwellers in An American Tale.

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