The Secret Life of Pets exposed in funny new animated film


Snowball (Kevin Hart) and Max (Louis C.K).
Snowball (Kevin Hart) and Max (Louis C.K).

ROCKING out to death metal, using kitchen appliances for massages and raiding the fridge are just a few of the things our pets get up to when we are at work, according to The Secret Life of Pets.

Ever come home to find vases smashed or your belongings damaged?

You know your dog has been naughty in your absence, but this animated story suggests there is another reason than just a bored and restless puppy.

Perhaps you are being manipulated by your old pet to believing that your new rescue dog is going to be a handful and needs to go back to the pound.

As is the case with jack russell terrier Max (Louis C.K), who feels threatened when his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) brings shaggy dog Duke (Eric Stonestreet) home to their New York apartment.

The two dogs don’t get along and each tries to get Katie to get rid of the other.

When out walking in the park, the two get lost and find themselves on the run from a gang of nasty, hardened strays, led by bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart).

Meanwhile, white pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) from the same apartment building and who has a crush on Max, rallies other pets in the complex to find him.

Taking a leaf out of Pixar’s book (toys coming to life in Toy Story and the lives of vehicles in Cars and monsters in Monsters Inc), The Secret Life of Pets conjures an amusing storyline for domesticated animals, capturing the traits of each species and how they interact.

The script is funny and squarely aimed at youngsters, with child-like humour and going without cheeky in-gags for the grown ups’ benefit, but unlike the Ice Age and Madagascar films, does not alienate the adults by setting its humour bar too low.

THE ESSENTIALS

The Secret Life of Pets (G)

Directed by: Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud

Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart

Four stars

Review by Julian Wright

In cinemas September 8