Review by Lauryn Angel
If you’re a fan of director Chris Renaud’s Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy The Secret Life of Pets. Unless you hate animals, in which case, you should probably just move along.
Max (Louis C.K.) is a terrier who lives in an apartment building with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper). His life seems pretty sweet – except for the fact that Katie inexplicably leaves the apartment every day. He’s got great neighbors like Chloe (Lake Bell), the neighbor’s cat whose days revolve around knocking things over and sneaking food out of the refrigerator; Gidget (Jenny Slate), the Pomeranian across the way who secretly loves Max and not-so-secretly loves soap operas; and Mel (Bobby Moynihan), who has a vendetta against the neighborhood squirrels. Max’s idyllic life changes when Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a big sheepdog who is happy to be rescued from the shelter.
Anyone who has added a second pet to the household will expect what comes next: Max and Duke don’t really get along, and they struggle for the position of Top Dog. The struggle comes to a head when they are taken for a walk, resulting in Max and Duke getting lost. The bulk of the film’s story is composed of Max and Duke’s adventures as they try to find their way home. On top of being lost, they have to deal with Snowball (Kevin Hart) – the adorable bunny with a foul temper who leads a gang of stray animals. Meanwhile, Gidget rallies the rest of the pets in the apartment building, including Tiberius the hawk (Albert Brooks) and Pops (Dana Carvey), who is partially paralyzed, to search for their friends.
The storyline is light, but the movie is a lot of fun and it’s fast-paced. I certainly missed Gru and the girls, but there’s a Minions short at the beginning. I would argue that there’s not enough feline representation in the movie, but it’s overall a pretty enjoyable 90 minutes – probably more enjoyable for kids than their parents.