THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS seeks to answer the question: “What do pets do when we’re not home?” It features a talented voice cast including Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper and Kevin Hart. The animation is not as technologically advanced as Pixar’s FINDING DORY, but it offers up plenty of laughs.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, the latest animated offering from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (MINIONS, DESPICABLE ME, THE LORAX) purports to answer the question “What do pets do when we’re not at home?” Bookended at the beginning and end of the movie are the (very funny) answers to that question: a bird turns on the television and a fan and pretends to fly in the great outdoors, a cat named Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell) fits herself into the smallest containers possible, including a box and a fishbowl. The movie shines the most when we get to see the very believable behaviors of a menagerie of animals in New York City.
When a small terrier named Max (voiced by comedian Louis CK) gets a brother in the form of rescue dog Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet of MODERN FAMILY fame), the pair find themselves fighting to the point that they escape from their dog-walker and wind up on an adventure in the city. Their adventure includes a run-in with animal control, a gang of cats, and a motley crew of animals who hate humans, led by a deceptively cute rabbit (voiced by comedian Kevin Hart).
The middle portion of the movie offers a very different film from what’s presented at the beginning. It turns into a violent comedy reminiscent of the Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird and Tasmanian Devil cartoons. Thought there’s a theme about learning to get along and supporting your friends, it’s truly a platform for the set up-prank-repeat that recurs.
Other voice actors include Albert Brooks, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper and Jenny Slate, who steals the show as a Pomeranian named Gidget who manages to dispel small, fluffy dog stereotypes as well as those for helpless women. My favorite character, though, didn’t have any lines at all.
Find out which character I loved the most as well as other ways that THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS was reminiscent of “old school” cartoons and eagle eye details to watch for in my full review below…
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