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Parent reviews for The Secret Life of Pets

Common Sense says

Adventure is clever and engaging, despite animals in peril.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 152 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 78 reviews
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bynicholea1 July 7, 2016

Scary Movie for younger kids

I took my 5 yo and 8yo to see this tonight and my 5yo left the theater with tears in his eyes. Pets talk about killing their owners, very scary snakes and other sewer animals. There is a hawk with dead animal bones in his cage that at first appears very frightening. There are stray/feral cats that are very scary and that crazy little bunny from the previews is way more scary than funny/crazy! My 8yo who stayed with the babysitter and finished the movie, said he liked it. My 5yo is not typically that sensitive of a kid- we have recently watched the Angry Birds movie and he liked that- but this was just too much. It is so frustrating when they advertise and preview funny/lighthearted bits of the movie and then it is way scary. I always come on this website before we head to the theater and have appreciated other reviewer's honest opinions but I never felt that I would review a movie (I'm not one to ever comment or review online) but I just couldn't help but to come home and do this. On the upside....my son won a large stuffed animal at the movie theater arcade while we waited for the movie to get out! :)

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bywptornop July 8, 2016

Surprised the writers have kids - they clearly have different sensibilities than I do...

My wife and I quite often find ourselves looking at each other in disbelief during kids' movies, wondering what in the world the writers were thinking. That moment occurred during The Secret Life of Pets when the 2 main characters find themselves in the underground - the sewer system - where the 2 writers of this film have imagined all of the discarded (literally flushed, they say) pets of NY end up. There we find a menagerie of animals who have come together in a sort of gang, led by a rabbit voiced by Kevin Hart. During the conversation between the 2 lead characters and this "gang" of castaways, the subject of killing one's owner comes up. Yes, that's right, the pets talk about murdering their owners. First one of them suggests having used a spoon to do the deed, then a blender is suggested. Now, even Disney occasionally slips in a reference I think we could all do without. But this film lingered on the subject far too long and repeatedly referred to killing an owner. Why is murder being brought up in film that is written for children, and why oh why has common sense media neglected to mention these references? I often find myself saying "The writers must not have kids." But no, I looked them up. 3 kids each. Here's what's worse: It's completely unnecessary. There isn't anything about doing your owner in that forwards the story. Omitting it would have had 0 impact. I'm also disappointed that 2 big name stars, Louis CK and Kevin Hart, didn't question this dialogue. Given the comedic chops they both possess, they could have come up with much better dialogue, suitable for all. As for the quality of the movie: It's just ok. I imagine in my mind that they came up with the ideas that we see in the opening 5 minutes of the film, and then the 5 minutes that we see at the end of the film, in rather short order. I think they then realized they had to fill 80+ more minutes of screen time and just kept going until it was done. What they chose to fill that time with isn't all that satsifying.
Adult Written bybethm5 July 8, 2016

Queasy Feelings Throughout

There were funny parts (most of which were in the trailers), but there were dark parts, too. If I had smaller kids younger than 10 or so, I wouldn't be seeing this movie. My 11 year-old daughter told me she thought it was "too dark for little kids" as we were leaving the theater. In the movie there's a whole contingent of "flushed pets" whose owners dumped them, and, led by a really angry bunny, talk a lot about killing humans because they are angry about being abandoned. It made me uneasy given our current world climate. I don't know. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I just didn't love that undertone. They could've gone in a whole different direction with the plot. The kids in the theater seemed to like it, but I just felt queasy in some parts.
Adult Written bymom8800 July 8, 2016


Apparently I should've done more research before taking my child to see this movie...the HUGE villainous snake scene had my son crying and ready to leave. I found quite a few things to be well, inappropriate. I'm no prude but this left a bad taste in my mouth...in my opinion this is no cute movie for kids...a laugh for adults and or teens maybe.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 9 and 10 year old Written byIrishLady33 July 8, 2016

Very Inappropriate Content

The previews for this movie made it look more innocent than it actually is. A great deal of this movie focuses on an underground group of animals that hate humans and want to kill them. The words "murder" and "kill" are used frequently. The female dog slaps an alley cat interrogation style. I'm very disappointed in this movie.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 11 year old Written byjrlemcke July 8, 2016

Watch the trailer, then stay home

This is not a movie for kids. Poor character development, pets are mean to each other, peril for no reason, chained, caged and mistreated animals. Tough to follow a story line. There is an unresolved pet owner who was presumed dead. One parent in our theater left with their kids after five minutes. They were the smart people.
Parent of a 4 year old Written byJjagner July 9, 2016

Not what was advertised

I am writing this because we are movie lovers. We go to the movies almost every weekend and it's a huge part of our family and life. We waited for months and months to see what looked like a promising movie about the secret life of pets. Instead we got a movie with 10 minutes of genuine clever sweetness and about an hour of slapstick violence, destruction and peril for characters we built an affection for - not to mention the brash and offensive main "bad guy" bunny rabbit who repeatedly talked about and attempted to kill humans, kill other animals, and used pretty nasty language (idiot, stupid, hate, shut up) non-stop. it was unnecessarily aggressive and I typically think common sense media is way off the mark with its suggested ages, only in the opposite direction. I honestly can't believe it say 6+ on here. I was uncomfortable with how many 2 and 3 year olds were crying during suspenseful scenes, like car crashes, fires, falling from extreme heights, nearly drowning. My own daughter was upset when there was hope to find one of the lost dogs owner only to be harshly and callously told "he died." with no explication. Then the last 15 minutes of the movie were sweet and funny and playful and ended in a warm and happy note. I wanted to like this movie so much and I haven't gotten over the ahock yet of just how offensively bad it was.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 6 year old Written byMoejo July 9, 2016

Creepy, violent, inappropriate

The trailer was funny and adorable, imagine how shocked we were to find dialogue about killing humans with a blender. Yup, a blender. Not making this up. What were they thinking?!? How was this released in something sold as a "kid's" movie? Our son has seen almost all of almost all the Star Wars films, all 3 Kung Fu Panda films, we aren't over reactive, we shelter him from violence, news, adult stuff but he gets to watch most kids films and some PG13 if we've pre-screened. This was way too much for us and for him. Everything worth seeing was in the trailer. I was shocked the common sense media review was positive, they're much more conservative than we are.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byHBCA July 10, 2016

Discussion of murder, violence, rage and death - not to mention racial stereotypes

Don't expose your kids to this mess. I'm a mom of a 5 and 6 year old. I've never posted a review on here, but felt compelled after just taking my 6 year old to see it this morning. I've relied on Common Sense media in the past, but they couldn't have gotten it more wrong with the 6 and up rating. This is a movie for teenagers. The animal characters discuss murdering people, how best to murder a person, what kind of weapon to use - in dialogue that goes on for several minutes. It was appalling, not funny, not clever, just awful violence for no reason. "Snowball," played by Kevin Hart, is supposed to be modeled on a violent Black militant, he celebrates rage, killing people, and screams "Death is coming to Brooklyn".... You can comment on social justice and the disenfranchised - humans, animals and otherwise - without turning it into a violent racist caricature. I didn't appreciate this film at all. I thought it was going to be a sweet movie about cute pets having innocent hijinks while their owners are at work. It was a mess of a movie. Goodbye, Illumination Entertainment. Shame on you ... I'll reserve my theater dollars for slightly kinder, better scripted Pixar movies. HB in CA

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byachurchi July 10, 2016

All action and little substance

I honestly wanted to leave after about 30 minutes. The characters lack integrity and there is so much violence. Fight scene, followed by chase scene, followed by fight scene, etc. I found it disturbing how the revolution leader was so excited to hear how the main characters had murdered their owners and then pushed them to share the gory details (which they didn't really (since they didn't actually murder their owners) but there was mention of a blender). Ick.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bymonkeydad July 9, 2016

Buyer beware

Like everyone else, we were stoked to see this movie because of the amazing previews. What an incredible let down: - Very few laughs--none if you discount the scenes in the preview - A scene where a dog tortures a cat for information - Animals who say repeatedly they want to murder their owners - A terrifying snake and a creepy hawk in a skull den - A handicapped dog who does a "me no rikey" routine - An owner who dies inexplicably I'm not easily offended, and I'm content to watch bad movies for the sake of my kids' enjoyment. But this bizarre movie should be missed, even on video.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7 year old Written byJenniferW 15 July 10, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets - too violent and negative racial subtext

What's It About The overall premise is basically Toy Story for pets, letting us see what our pets get up to when we leave for the day. The film is set in Manhattan and focuses on a small dog named Max, whose life is upended when his owner brings home a new dog named Duke. Max and Duke are at odds from the beginning and through their fight they end up lost in the city. They are eventually chased by a gang of discarded pets called the Flushed Pets and their apartment dwelling friends must join in the search to bring them home. Is It Any Good I saw the previews months ago and was really looking forward to it, but the movie left me disappointed for several reasons. The first is that it was strangely boring in the middle third. The action was moving along, but it felt repetitive and I found my mind wandering and I started to wonder how much longer it would last. The characters and their motivations are also poorly drawn. Even though Woody, Buzz et. al. are only toys, they have clear personalities and you care deeply about their fate. I'm a pet lover and should have been able to develop the same investment in our two dog protagonists, but I didn't. Max was too whiney and entitled in the beginning (a fault that lessened my enjoyment of Arlo in the Good Dinosaur) and Duke, at the start, was overly aggressive, verging on scary. The role of the Flushed Pets also soured me on the film. Perhaps the timing of film's release is simply unfortunate, but there are clear racial stereotypes behind the sewer dwelling discarded pets and the rhetoric of their group is clearly meant to mimic "black power" iconography - "Revoluntion forever, domestication never" is their battle cry. The Flushed Pet leader (a bunny) speaks with a clear urban dialect, made even more obvious in a scene where Max and Duke try to blend in with the group and their language starts to be peppered with grammar and slang meant to mimic that dialect. The bunny's main henchman is a pig named Tattoo who is literally covered in tattoos and sports earrings and a nose ring. The Flushed Pets agenda is the destruction of all mankind and there is a scene when they ask Max and Duke to describe the supposedly bloodily murder of their former owners. Allegory and metaphor are certainly fine in children's films but this was all a bit much. And the moral of the whole thing (scary urban animals chasing our friendly domesticate heroes) is the opposite of what we need to hear right now. Parent Perspective Neither child appeared to consciously pick up on the subtext of the film, which is good. There was no real bad language, but lots of characters calling each other idiot and stupid and the now de rigeuer poop jokes. In terms of violence there were lots of chases and pet in jeopardy moments, particularly in the final third. There is also (SPOILER ALERT) a fairly violent death for one of the Flushed Pets in the middle of the film which is disturbingly played for laughs. Kid Perspective The big kid saw it on vacation with his grandmother and told me he gives it an 8 out of 10. The little kid saw it with me and liked it as well. Final Thoughts I'd see Finding Dory or BFG instead. If you have to see it, it's not horrible and is entertaining in parts (especially for pet owners). Children will no doubt enjoy and are unlikely to pick up on the parts that bothered me the most. Of course, that doesn't mean that over time exposure to this type of racist subtext won't have some effect. It's disappointing that the filmmakers went in this direction.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byhikingmary July 11, 2016

AWFUL Movie!!!! Parents beware!!!!

Just took my kids to see The Secret Life of Pets and I'm so disappointed. There was a group of animals (gang basically) and there was an underlying message of hatred toward a certain group of people and devaluing human life. Is this really the message we need to send to our kids? I have more thoughts but I will spare you and send those thoughts on to those responsible for creating this awful message for our kids. Please research this movie before taking your kids to see it.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byMommy2cash July 9, 2016

Very disappointed!!

This movie looked adorable from the trailer, however it was full of violent and scary scenes. Animals talking about murdering their owners and violent car crashes, one character being crushed and then main characters almost drowning. I regret going to the film it could have been so much better.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written bymcmumma July 12, 2016

Worst Movie Ever

I took my parents, my son, and my son's friend to see this movie today to beat the hot muggy weather. What a waste of time! I thought it was going to be a cute animated movie since I enjoyed the trailer. The first and last 10 minutes of the movie lived up to the previews/hype, cute scenes of animals interacting with their people. But, yuck, it just turned ugly. I walked out and was able to get a refund for two of the five tickets I purchased. Thank you Marcus Theaters. Violence and meanness were common themes. I wish I could give this movie a zero star rating.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 4 year old Written byasmit4 July 10, 2016

Agree with other parents---too much peril, death, discussion on murder

My husband and I have a 4 year old son and we decided NOT to take him to this movie with us. It looked super cute but I had a gut feeling it might not be appropriate for him. I was 100% right. The movie was pretty funny and my husband and I would give a a 3.5 out of 5 rating. We are glad we went to see it. However---the movie hinges on a lot of peril and violence and discussion on murdering humans and animals. It's not like the peril you see in Finding Dory which is just enough to make the movie exciting. The peril in this movie is much darker. My son is sensitive and often will repeat things he hears at home. I don't need him discussing things that happened in this movie such as killing or hurting others. A lot of bullying in this movie too. It's just a bit too dark for your average preschooler.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byZepora July 13, 2016

Terrible--Dont waste your money

I don't know how this movie got a 74. This was a mistake to create and an even bigger mistake to premiere. Do NOT take any kids to see this movie. There were allusions to hell, sinister scenes, not to mention subliminal majorly controversial themes. And the cherry on top of this total lack of a sunday was that the main way anyone gets anyone else's attention in this movie was by some means of violence or physical slapping (be it in a spoiled brat way or a serial killer way). I almost fell asleep in the first ten minutes but was soon awoken due to the boiling of my blood from every line, scene, and non existent plot twist. The only twist in this movie was how insanely terrible they made it. Closing note: you know there's a problem when the first four minutes of the movie is the entire trailer, scene for scene, line for line.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 13 year old Written byMsB423 July 10, 2016

Inappropriate for Younger Children

Sorry to say, but I can't recommend this movie for anyone, and definitely not for anyone with kids under ten. I thought several scenes were inappropriate for little kids. The whole subplot with the evil bunny and his group of "flushed pets" is full of threatening language and it glorifies the idea of pets killing their owners. The relationship between Max and Duke is cute, and I can see some benefit to the whole idea of learning to get along with someone different from you. There were some moments that could be considered endearing, but the negative outweighs the positive in this movie. For the few cute scenes, you end up sitting through many scenes that may be upsetting to small kids. If you've seen the preview clip, you've seen all the funny scenes. The poodle at the end of this clip was only in two scenes, and he's my favorite. If you do go, though, stay after the credits for a bonus scene featuring Leonard the Poodle. Also, there's a cute little short film with the Minions in it before the movie starts, so for Minions fans, get there early enough to see it. I had really looked forward to seeing this movie, and I'm sorry to say it didn't live up to my expectations. It could have been so much better.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bytrillian11 July 10, 2016

Surprisingly violent, and in poor taste

I am not usually too conservative with movies for our kids...they have seen all the Star Wars', and The Hobbit and all of the Lord of the Rings, which were certainly more violent than this. But I found the flavor of the violence in this one completely unnecessary and gratuitous. It provided maybe a chuckle for the grown-ups in the audience who were familiar with mob movies, but really? My kids don't need to see a dog hitting a cat over and over in the face to make him talk. I didn't like the feel of the scene where the gang of discarded pets were bloodthirsty to hear about how the lost dogs purportedly killed their owners, and then discussed how they were killed. Yuck. I was actually pretty bummed I'd gone out of my way to take them. The funniest parts were in the trailer.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byStevie111 July 8, 2016

The Scret Life of Pets is a disappointing film with less humor and more peril

The Secret Life of Pets had some really funny parts, but was inconsistent. There was death and emotional scenes that may be too much for younger kids. There is action, some played for humor, but it was a bit much. It wasn't a laugh a minute feel good film like Despicable Me or Minions. It has a happy ending, but I just expected a lot more from this. I didn't think it was put together that well either. Kids over 7 should be okay with it, but may still find some parts sad. The film isn't terrible, it just did not impress me.