REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

thesecretlifeofpets

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2016, Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment/Dentsu/Fuji Television Network

Director:
Chris Renaud
Producers:
Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
Writers:
Cinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Brian Lynch
Editing:
Ken Schretzmann

Cast:
Louis C.K. (Max)
Eric Stonestreet (Duke)
Kevin Hart (Snowball)
Jenny Slate (Gidget)
Ellie Kemper (Katie)
Albert Brooks (Tiberius)
Lake Bell (Chloe)
Dana Carvey (Pops)
Hannibal Buress (Buddy)
Bobby Moynihan (Mel)

What do you think can happen when you leave your pets to go off to work? The answer may in fact lie with this hilarious animated film.

Max is a dog who since being a puppy has been connected all the time with his owner Katie. However, when Katie shows up one day with the big scruffy dog Duke, Max finds his connection in jeopardy. All Duke wants is to be accepted but Max’s jealousy gets the best of him. One fateful day, Max decides to frame up Duke, which in turn causes Duke to attempt to abandon him. However, a Sphinx cat named Ozone forces both dogs to lose their collars and they are caught by Animal Control.

Gidget, a little dog with a crush on Max, gets worried and decides to rely on the aid of an old vulture named Tiberius to help her find him. Max and Duke find themselves rescued by a menacing rabbit named Snowball. Snowball is the leader of the “Flushed Pets”, who rebel against humans and domesticated animals. When Max and Duke are found to be domesticated, Snowball attempts to stop them but the duo escape. It is here where Max and Duke realize they must overcome their differences and find a way back home before Katie comes home. It isn’t going to be easy at all.

You have to hand it to Universal and Illumination Entertainment, known for their Despicable Me franchise, the hilarious Dr. Seuss’ The Lomax, and Hop. Their latest film (before June’s DM3) is a hilarious look at meshing animals and the buddy comedy. The film revolves around domesticated animals who are not typical, but then again, what is typical? When pet owners leave for the day, what do these pets do? Well, that may have been answered and for each of the pets, it is all about talking and hanging out.

Comedian Louis C.K. is great as the voice of Max, who has always felt connected to his owner to the point of a love story where a pet misses his owner and waits for her. Jealousy hits hard with the introduction of Duke, who just longs to be accepted and is well voiced by Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet. The two’s rivalry eventually turns them into friends when they realize some secrets about each other and find they have more in common then they think, thus making their relationship go from sour to that of a buddy comedy.

Jenny Slate is quite fun to watch as Gidget, who longs to tell Max how she feels and goes as far as getting an old vulture, hilariously voiced by Albert Brooks, to assist her in any way possible. However, the real reason to see this film is because of the hilarious Kevin Hart, who voices the maniacal rabbit Snowball. It is funny enough that we see a rabbit as a primary nemesis of sorts, but when you have one of the funniest actors today voicing that unlikely nemesis, then you are in for a hilarious performance and Hart delivers in that role. Snowball holds a grudge and leads a revolution of sorts against all humans and domesticated pets because of a very unfortunate experience he had to endure.

The Secret Life of Pets is a funny look at the world of domesticated animals with a great voice cast, especially Kevin Hart as the most unexpected nemesis you would ever expect. A fun comic adventure that must be seen by everyone.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/BLU-RAY

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