The Secret Life of Pets

"Very Good"

The Secret Life of Pets Review


From the team behind Despicable Me and Minions, this high-energy adventure makes up for its rather simplistic story by filling the screen with lively characters, silly dialog and colourful animation. There's nothing terribly distinctive about the movie, as most of the gags feel recycled and everything bounces across the surface without generating any resonance either in the humour or emotions. But it's a lot of fun while it lasts.

In a cosy Manhattan apartment, the happy rescue dog Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) lives with his owner Katie (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Ellie Kemper). The moment she steps out of the door on the way to work, he's already bored and waiting for her to come home. So he hangs out with the other pets in the neighbourhood, including lovelorn pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) and food-obsessed cat Chloe (Lake Bell). Then Katie brings home another stray, the gigantic brown furball Duke (Eric Stonestreet), who immediately starts challenging Max's alpha-dog status. As war breaks out between them, they find themselves stranded in the city, caught up with a sewer-dwelling gang of abandoned pets led by the adorable but intense bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart). Meanwhile, Gidget and Chloe recruit some help to find them, including a grumpy hawk (Albert Brooks) and an ageing basset hound (Dana Carvey).

The plot basically consists of a series of chaotic chase sequences that build up to a climactic scene straight out of a Die Hard movie. Each character and plot element is over-constructed, which eliminates any sense of honest emotion or loose interaction, but the characters are likeable simply because they're so ridiculous. The animators use a lot of colour and a tactile variety of furry textures. And the actors have a lot of fun with the characters. Hart is, of course, the scene-stealer as the fast-talking kingpin who uses his cuteness as a weapon. And while C.K. and Stonestreet are endearing as the story's protagonists, it's Slate and Bell who win over the audience in the funniest, most complex roles.

Not that anything about this story is terribly complex. There's a nagging predictability to both the narrative and each comedy set-up. This inability to surprise the audience will probably keep this movie from ever being a classic, but the frenetic motion and general goofiness makes it a thoroughly enjoyable summer movie. It's also a rare movie that puts 3D to use effectively, most notably in a sequence involving tongue-flickering snakes. And while the kids laugh at the general mayhem, there are plenty of references that will keep adults chuckling.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets:



The Secret Life of Pets

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th July 2016

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Chris Renaud

Producer: Christopher Meledandri

Starring: as Max, as Duke, as Snowball, as Mell, as Tiberius, as Boss, Hannibal Buress as Unknown, as Chloe

Contactmusic


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