The Secret Life of Pets

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The Secret Life of Pets 7The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Directed by Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud

Written by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, Simon Rich

Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey

Max the terrier (C.K.) is the center of Kaite’s (Kemper) world until she brings home Duke (Stonestreet) from the pound. Jealousy leads to tension between the dogs, and eventually to Max and Duke searching for a way home.

This story came from the creative team of Cinco Paul (Despicable Me), Ken Daurio (Despicable Me 2), Brian Lynch (Minions), and Simon Rich (Inside Out). Yarrow Cheney (The Iron Giant) and Chris Renaud (The Lorax) came together to direct this one. The film features the voice talents of a long list of stars. The list includes Louis C.K. (Blue Jasmine), Eric Stonestreet (Almost Famous), Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street), Kevin Hart (Get Hard), Jenny Slate (Zootopia), Lake Bell (Man Up), and Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World).

The story the team of writers put together for this movie is pretty fun. Small moments really helped to establish the personalities of the many pets. These unique personalities given to the animals in the film really helped to get this one going. The comedy written into the film does a great job working on multiple levels. Like any successful animated feature, this one has something for all ages.

The Secret Life of Pets 6What this one lacks is the ability to create a stronger connection to the main characters. Throughout the film, there are too many side stories that don’t quite connect like they should have. Relying on sentimentality was another mistake that makes this one feel a little thin at times, but it’s still fun. It should also be noted that the similarities to Toy Story are glaring. While this doesn’t have the strength of story or originality that Zootopia has, it’s still a fun film.

The Secret Life of Pets 3The voice work in this film is wonderful. It’s always nice when the voice of a character seems to fit perfectly with the images. The long list of stars who worked on this film is impressive. Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart all add their own unique comedic spin to their roles. Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, and Dana Carvey are also great in this one. The voice actors do all the right things with the story. Kevin Hart and Jenny Slate might be the standout performers, making their characters into something special. Overall, there isn’t anything to complain about when it came to the voice acting.

The Secret Life of Pets 2This film looks really good. The stylized world of the film fits with the way the characters were designed. Audiences who are used to great high-definition graphics will not be disappointed. The movie also benefits from good editing and sound work. The similarity to Toy Story is something that can’t be entirely ignored. While this is a fun and interesting film, it lacks that originality that would’ve turned it into a classic. If you’re a fan of animation, this is still worth checking out. I would also suggest this to fans of the stars. Despite the issues with the story, this is a good “family movie night” kind of film. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 87 Minutes

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