This week at the movies, we’ve got adventurous animals (The Secret Life of Pets, featuring voice performances by Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart) and uninhibited nuptial attendees (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, starring Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick). What do the critics have to say?
When you take your kids to the movies this weekend, do you want them to have their minds blown, or are you just looking for an hour and a half or so of agreeably diverting entertainment? Your answer to that question may have a major impact on how much you enjoy The Secret Life of Pets. Starring Louis C.K. as a happily domesticated terrier and Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet as the oafish rescue dog who threatens to disturb his idyllic existence, this Illumination production uses its sturdy talking-animals premise as a springboard into some amusing ideas about what sorts of mischief our pets might get up to while they’re home alone. Critics say that although many of the story’s intriguing possibilities are left by the wayside in favor of a fairly standard caper, Pets is rarely short of entertaining — and substantially enlivened by an all-star voice cast that also includes Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, and Dana Carvey.
A wedding, a pair of siblings, and a couple of scammers out for a good time. Sound familiar? Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates obviously has a few things in common with Wedding Crashers, but it’s actually loosely based on a real-life story about a couple of goober man-children (Zac Efron and Adam Devine) whose history of drunken revelry threatens to get them uninvited from their sister’s nuptials — unless they agree to bring dates to (theoretically) keep them in line. As luck would have it, the seemingly staid ladies they end up bringing (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick) are secretly just as wild as the fellas; unfortunately, despite the talented cast and its equal-opportunity distaff twist, critics say the results are underwhelming. Although Mike and Dave isn’t without laughs, reviews point to a frustratingly uneven affair that proposes gut-busting raunch but never quite commits.
The Night Of is a richly crafted, exquisitely performed mystery that will keep viewers enthralled and leave them devastated.
Dead of Summer sets a spooky stage for a silly period creepfest, but its lack of actual scares adds up to an altogether underwhelming experience.
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