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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "The Secret Life of Pets" is just cute enough

Jul 14, 2016 09:12AM ● By Dan Metcalf

The Secret Life of Pets - © 2016 – Universal.

The Secret Life of Pets (Universal)

Rated PG for action and some rude humor.

Starring (voices of) Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, ara Strong, Chris Renaud, Michael Beattie, Sandra Echeverría, Jaime Camil, Kiely Renaud, Laraine Newman and John Kassir.

Written by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.

Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney.



The folks over at Illumination Entertainment are on a roll, of sorts. The small studio has blossomed since its first release of Despicable Me, a movie that has spawned a billion-dollar franchise, with many more Minions sequels in the works. The studio merger with Dreamworks Animation should keep the streak going, too. The latest Illumination release is The Secret Life of Pets.

It’s the story of the lovable Jack Russell Terrier Max (Louis C.K.) who lives in a NYC apartment with his devoted human owner Katie (Ellie Kemper). Everyhting is fine until Katie adopts a Newfoundland named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) and introduces him to Max as his new “brother.” Max and Duke don’t hit it off, and a power struggle leads them to get lost in the city, where they are picked up by animal control officers. They escape with the help of a psychotic bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart).

Meanwhile Max’s friends Chloe (Lake Bell), an obese cat, a pug named Mel (Bobby Moynihan) and a wiener named Buddy (Hannibal Buress) are recruited by a white Pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate) to find the lost dogs. Gidget is in love with Max, though he is oblivious to her affection. The rescue party also includes a hawk named Tiberius (Albert Brooks) and a paralyzed Basset hound named Pops (Dana Carvey).

During their adventures on the run, Max and Duke must learn to help each other to avoid going to the pound and get back home to their beloved owner.

The Secret Life of Pets is cute film with cute animal characters. Several amusing gags and appropriate voice casting compliment the movie. Illumination Entertainment will make a lot of money on the film, but it won’t become an instant classic due to a somewhat weak and predictable story, and a script void of clever dialogue, unlike many of the recent Pixar or Disney animated film. The movie also relies on a few potty humor jokes that you may or may not find comical.

Even so, The Secret Life of Pets is adorable enough to find a spot into your home and help you feel good about your own furry companions.

The Secret Life of Pets Trailer