GuineaDad Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets

Yes, we’ve found another fun movie that has a guinea pig character!
the secret life of pets movie review

Yes, we’ve found another fun movie that has a guinea pig character! Movies involving guinea pigs are few and far between, and you bet we’re going to do a review when we come across them! 

Overall, The Secret Life of Pets is a fun, family-friendly movie about pets and what they get up to once their humans have left home for the day. What follows is a fun and entertaining movie that has plenty of laughs, as well as some emotional and heartfelt moments. Does your dog secretly enjoy screamo music? Does your bird fly in front of a fan and pretend he's having epic adventures? You'll never know!

So, grab your microwave popcorn, set your piggies up on the couch with you (with some veggies to snack on, of course), and prepare for a fun movie night filled with animated pet entertainment!

What’s the movie about?

We’ll try to give you a spoiler-free summary just in case you haven’t seen it! 

The Secret Life of Pets is an animated comedy film released in July 2016 by Illumination Entertainment, which is the same animation studio that creates movies like Despicable Me and Minions. The cast of The Secret Life of Pets is star-studded, including big names like Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Louis C.K., Jenny Slate, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Hannibal Buress, and several other big Hollywood actors! 

All of these voices came together to form the pet-studded cast and made the movie extra fun. When the film originally came out, actor and comedian Kevin Hart drew lots of attention for his voice acting work as the bunny character, Snowball! 

The movie is about a Jack Russell Terrier named Max, who lives in a New York apartment with his human named Katie. Whenever she leaves for the day to go to work, he hangs out with the other pets in his building—the pet casting is super diverse! We have a cat, several types of dogs, a bird, and a guinea pig named Norman (who is the star of the show in our hearts!). 

norman from the secret life of pets enjoying movie snacks

One day, Katie comes home with a dog that she adopted from the pound named Duke. Max is immediately jealous of the attention that Katie gives to Duke, which leads to some tension between the two pups. 

Animal Control plays a large role in this movie, and it’s no surprise that when Max and Duke escape from the dog park and get their collars slashed and stolen by some stray cats, they get scooped up by the agency and put on a truck headed for the pound. The stray cats refer to Animal Control by calling them “the po-po” just like some humans refer to police with that term, and definitely got a laugh out of us. 

However, the laughs subsided when Duke reveals that if he gets taken back to the pound, he’ll be put down. 

The dog-walker that had taken them to the park in the first place never even noticed that the two dogs were missing, but Max’s pet friends from his building definitely do. Gidget, another dog in Max's building that is in love with him, makes it her mission to find Max and rescue him, and she recruits the other pets to help her out. 

Meanwhile, a rogue gang of abandoned pets called the “Flushed Pets” led by Snowball (Kevin Hart) breaks one of their members out of the Animal Control truck when they attack the drivers and cause them to crash. Max and Duke convince the gang to break them out too when they tell them that they killed their last owners. (Obviously, not true!) 

“The Flushed Pets” take in Max and Duke as one of their own and they retreat into the sewers where the rest of the gang is and are about to be initiated into the gang when it gets revealed by the stray cats that had attacked them earlier that they’re “domesticated.”

Max and Duke narrowly escape and attempt to make their way back to Katie’s apartment while Gidget and friends are still trying to find the two of them and bring them home. In this process, Max and Gidget learn to get along and appreciate each other as friends and now as new brothers, and make it their goal to come home to Katie. 

What we wish it could’ve done better!

If you’re a piggy parent and are planning on watching this movie because of the guinea pig character Norman, you should know now that he’s not a significant character in the film at all! It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

We also found that in the brief moments where he did appear, Norman’s characterization is quite off, if we were to compare his personality to that of guinea pigs in real life. We’re thinking that the studio had assumed that guinea pigs and hamsters have the same behaviors and personalities as each other, and that’s just not true! 

They have Norman acting super hyper and have him speaking super quickly, which we think would be more appropriate for a hamster character. In the film, the premise of his entire character is that he had escaped his cage and got lost, and was exploring the air vents of the apartment building in order to find his way back to his home. 

Final Thoughts

Not every movie involving guinea pigs can be perfect, but we still had some high hope since they decided to include a guinea pig character! There’s a The Secret Life of Pets 2, which also includes Norman as one of the characters, and we’re definitely going to review that one in the future in hopes that they get him right in that one! 

Looking for another guinea pig movie review? Check out our review of G-Force!

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