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Secret Life of Pets, The


Stars: Voices: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Renaud, Steve Coogan

Director: Chris Renaud

Here Illumination Entertainment/Universal’s fifth feature collaboration meets this reviewer’s key requirement for a family film – lashings of lively comedy-action entertainment for youngsters and, serendipitously, enough sly and cynical comic touches to prevent accompanying adults from needing to reach for their sleeping pills during the screening.

At the start the audience, like Max (“I’m the luckiest dog in New York”), is confined to owner Katie ’s Manhattan apartment and Max could not be happier.

The spanner (not spaniel!) in his idyllic works arrives in the shaggy shape of large and demanding canine Duke who, rescued by Katie, takes over both the flat and Max’s idyllic lifestyle; and it ends up with the two pooches having to live on the city streets and forced to try and thwart the wild efforts of deranged rabbit Snowball, who commands an army of abandoned pets out to get their revenge against humanity…

Vocal casting is apt (I particularly enjoyed Dana Carrvey speaking for an elderly but keen-to-go pooch with paralysed hind legs), the animation is attractive and while The Secret Life of Pets doesn’t actually breed anything really ground-breakingly original in its storyline or animation, most youngsters (and accompanying adults) would be barking not to enjoy themselves.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
86 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Nov 2016

DVD review