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With Jim Sabatini

Secret Life of Pets

Secret Life of Pets
Voices of:  Louis C. K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, and Jenny Slate 

Rated: PG for action and some rude humor.
Reviewed by: Matt  
Release date: July 8, 2016 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

When this movie was first announced there was a movie that it instantly reminded me of: Toy Story.  And in many regards this movie is very much like it, except you replace toys with pets.  

The Secret Life of Pets is a film about a dog named Max (Louis C.K.) who lives in New York with his owner.  Everything is going well for Max until his owner adopts another dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet).  The two end up trying to get rid of one another and both end up being captured by animal control and now must find their way home.

First off I must admit the movie does a great job representing animals the way we see them.  And  throughout the film they consistently act like the very animals that they are.  It seems like a small thing however it is very easy to just avoid such things and have them just act like people.  For example, Chloe the cat is constantly playing with cat toys or other objects while constantly showing a very disconnected personality.  Each character has a scene or two where they can stand out, especially the film's "villain" Snowball (Kevin Hart), a crazy rabbit bent on overthrowing humanity, and Gidget (Jenny Slate), a dog who has a one sided romance with Max.  These two characters steal the show and their scenes end up being the most memorable.  The other side characters are also enjoyable though they often felt like background characters than characters actively participating in the plot.  The jokes were varied and it felt like most of them hit their mark, though a few fell flat.

Unfortunately there are some problems with the movie starting with the main characters Max and Duke.  These two are pretty bland all things considered and their feud is something I've seen a thousand times in movies before this and felt old and cliched.  I was easily enjoying the sub plots more than the main story.  And when all the plots meet up at the end it felt rushed and somewhat out of place compared to the rest of the movie.  However, these issues don't take that much away from the film.

In the end, The Secret Life of Pets is a very enjoyable movie with some very enjoyable characters in it.  Even if some of the side characters are more interesting than the main ones.  Both adults and kids will enjoy it and I believe animal lovers will find the most enjoyment from this as many of the jokes resonate with them. 

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Secret Life of Pets  B      B         B+      B      B 

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