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Running Time:
1 hr. 30 min.

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for action and some rude humor

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This amusing animated adventure full of talking animals should entertain both children and their parents.

Additional Info:
CAST (voices):
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
Chris Renaud ... Norman
Steve Coogan ... Ozone / Reginald

The Secret Life of Pets
The premise is a simple one: when pets’ owners are away, the animals not only converse among themselves but act pretty much as they like, often at odds with the way they do when observed by their humans. So while Jack Russell Terrier Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is devoted to Katie (Ellie Kemper), doing all he can to discourage her from leaving him alone every day, when she goes off to work he connects with his usual pals in nearby Manhattan apartments. They include Gidget (Jenny Slate), the white Pomeranian who desperately wants to be his girlfriend; Mel (Bobby Moynihan), a hyperactive pug; Buddy (Hannibal Buress), a dachshund who uses a mixmaster as a rubbing tool; chirpy parakeet Sweet Pea (Tera Strong); Tattoo (Michael Beattie), a slow-witted pig; and even the self-absorbed Garfield-like cat Chloe (Lake Bell) who lives upstairs. Popping up occasionally is Norman (Chris Renaud), a guinea pig who prowls the ventilation system in search of his apartment.

Max’s happy existence changes for the worse when Katie brings home another dog—Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a big Newfoundland she rescued from a shelter. Not only does Max not want to share, but Duke is no slouch at demanding more than half of everything. The pair is forced to work together, though, when they get separated from their dog-walking group and find themselves on their own in the city. Threatened by alley cat Ozone (Steve Coogan) and his crew and caught by animal control, they’re freed by a surly little rabbit named Snowball (Kevin Hart), who leads “the flushed pets,” a group of abandoned critters determined to take revenge on humankind, after Max persuades him that they’re bad dudes, too. When Snowball takes them to his lair in the sewers, however, their imposture is revealed, and they’re on the run again—to Brooklyn.

While Max and Duke bond over a series of adventures—a feast in a sausage factory, a visit to Duke’s old homestead; Gidget is mounting a locate-and-rescue operation in which, along with Max’s neighbors, she enlists an unlikely ally—Tiberius (Albert Brooks), a red-tailed hawk kept in a rooftop shed whose appetite she has to keep in check. They eventually link up with Pops (Dana Carvey), an old basset hound with wheels for hind legs who’s a sort of animal godfather and takes them to Snowball’s lair. Their arrival sets off another frantic chase that brings animal control back into the picture and, eventually, an unlikely alliance between Max and Snowball.

Under the practiced direction of Chris Renaud, The Secret Life of Pets is fast-moving and antic, and if it devolves into one long chase, that’s pretty much a standard requirement in today’s animated films. Though the more sedate, saccharine moments never reach the emotional resonance of those one finds in the best Pixar product, they do offer a little breathing space from the mayhem. And the characters are amusing, even if they don’t achieve instant classic status.  

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