"The Secret Life of Pets" could be described as a four-legged version of "Toy Story," although not nearly as witty or charming. In a summer of animated movies, this one is a step or two below "Finding Dory," but it is leaps and bounds better than "The Angry Birds Movie."
Louis C.K. provides the voice for Max, a terrier that lives a sheltered life with his owner, Katie. His whole life changes with the arrival of Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a very big and unkempt dog to put it mildly. They immediately become rivals over their owner. One day, out on the streets of New York, they get attacked by cats and then taken to the pound.
A mysterious and energetic bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) rescues them both because Max and Duke convince him that they are homeless pets just like him. He leads them to his underground base of operations in a sewer and begins devising plans to wipe out the human race.
Yes, I just said a bunny attempting to obliterate mankind.
His ambitions may be elaborate, but his skills and schemes seem to be taken as seriously as Gru from "Despicable Me."
After realizing that Max and Duke have gone missing, other animals in the neighborhood set out to find them. They include other cats and dogs, as well as a parakeet and guinea pig. Just think of them as "The Avengers" of the animal kind.
"The Secret Life of Pets" isn’t exactly original, and maybe it is not meant to be. It borrows heavily from other great animated movies such as "Toy Story" and "Despicable Me." The screenplay is surprisingly strong and much more geared toward adults than some might expect, but it always comes back to the kiddies, with enough sight gags to entertain them.
The movie has great animation and terrific voice work from its funny cast. I’m not sure if this movie will warrant a sequel, but I’m sure we will get one because it’s gonna be successful. Still, I am recommending it for its jolly, high-spirited nature.
Rated PG for action and rude humor.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.