Secret Life of Pets reviews: what critics are saying about this week's new releases | EW.com

Movies

Critical Mass: 'Secret Life of Pets' worth exposing, 'Mike and Dave' need a better movie

(Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures)

Are you cozying up to the sweet animated stylings of The Secret Life of Pets or leaving the kids at home so you can enjoy a raunchy night at the movies with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? Whatever you end up choosing, EW wants to point you in the direction of quality cinema this weekend, so use our handy Critical Mass collection as your guide to the week’s new releases. 

Check out what the critics are saying about the wide releases hitting theaters in the reviews below.

 

The Secret Life of Pets

Opens July 8. 

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says: 

Pets has a great premise, but it’s more busy than clever. Sylvester and Tweety packed more anarchy and wit into a six-minute Looney Tunes short than Renaud and Cheney manage in an hour and a half. Like a dog that endlessly chases its tail in circles, Pets is amusing for a while, then it just tires itself out. B–

Read the full EW review

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Metacritic: 61

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Opens July 8. 

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

A better title for Dates, penned by the same team behind Neighbors, might be Wedding Smashers; there aren’t many slapstick or scatological places the script won’t go, and sometimes its frenzied lunacy just face-plants. But Efron and Devine are an endearingly loony duo, and as much as Plaza and Kendrick never quite sell their vixen shtick, the supporting cast is wickedly stacked. It’s like riding a roller coaster fueled by Red Bull and grain alcohol: kind of gross but pretty fun, too. B

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Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Metacritic: 51

Finding Dory

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

A lot of people who loved 2003’s Finding Nemo will pay to see this new follow-up and walk out feeling like they got their money’s worth. But it’s not Toy Story, Inside Out or even Nemo. What it is is a perfectly enjoyable family film that’s comforting, familiar, and a bit slight, like one of those serviceable Lion King spin-offs that Disney used to ship straight to DVD back in the ‘90s. B

Read the full EW review.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Metacritic: 77

The Legend of Tarzan

Now playing. 

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says: 

And how is Skarsgård? All sad eyes and fiberglass abs, he hardly speaks; there’s more dialogue implied by his deltoids than the scant mutterings the script allows him. But he does look fantastic, and the equally pretty Robbie works hard to bring some feminist nerve to her handcuffed-damsel role. Though the film was shot almost entirely on a London soundstage, it rarely misses a chance to pan a sweeping shot across lush forests and glistening waterfalls and amber waves of Congolese grain; there’s a whole lot of post-production magic here—especially in the Noah’s Ark of exotic animals that stand by ready to heed Tarzan’s beck and call, like eager extras on the set of Madagascar. The audience will eventually get more than one bellowing dose of that trademark yodel, plus multiple scenes of gymnastic vine-swinging. You just wish—after two solid but oddly joyless hours—that Legend strained less to hit its marks, and swung a little more. B–

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Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Metacritic: 44

The Purge: Election Year 

Now playing. 

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says: 

Since we’re smack dab in the middle of a very surreal and polarizing race for the Oval Office, there’s a temptation to look to The Purge: Election Year for timely metaphorical resonance. You’ll find it. It’s so simplistic and heavy-handed that it’s impossible to miss, but to be honest, it’s the least interesting thing about the film. If, on the other hand, it’s sleazy kicks you’re after, you’ll be in exploitation heaven. Because writer-director James DeMonaco’s third chapter in the thrill-kill vigilante franchise is the best and pulpiest Purge yet. B

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Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Metacritic: 55

The BFG

Now playing. 

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says: 

The “BFG” in The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, and as conjured by pixie-dust maestro Steven Spielberg and embodied by Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance, he’s a stunning creature to behold. Lanky, long-limbed, and five stories tall, this gentle behemoth with jug-ears and a vocabulary of gibberish malapropisms is the main reason to see this sweet kiddie fantasia. It certainly isn’t for the meandering story. Based on one of Roald Dahl’s lesser children’s books, The BFG doesn’t share the twisted, subversive sensibility of the author’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s an innocuous bedtime tale about a young girl (played by 12-year-old Ruby Barnhill) who’s swiped from her orphanage by the BFG late one night and whisked off to his homeland, where she discovers a world of strange wonders and learns not to judge a book by its imposing cover. Parents looking for a 21st-century E.T. to share with their kids are bound to be a bit disappointed even as their eyes are dazzled. B–

Read the full EW review. 

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Metacritic: 67

Independence Day: Resurgence 

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says: 

I realize we’re dealing in the realm of kill-crazy space monsters here, but Resurgence doesn’t make a friggin’ lick of sense. That, in and of itself, is not something I’m against. I’ll go with nonsense as long as there’s something else to hold onto – some shred or scintilla of smarts or spectacle to keep us entertained and distracted while we’re being condescended to. But Emmerich and his army of screenwriters (including original co-writer Dean Devlin) don’t even bother with that. Instead, what we get is a film whose idea of wit is having Liam Hemsworth take a leak on alien space ship while giving it the finger. Which, in a sense, is exactly what Independence Day does to its audience. F

Read the full EW review. 

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Metacritic: 32