"The Secret Life of Pets" Is an Entertainment Bonanza

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"The Secret Life of Pets" (Universal Pictures)

Hello America! Tell Dory to get lost and get your family together to see "The Secret Life of Pets." This is the best animated movie of the year, at least in my book. It has enough crazy and charming characters to fill two or three movies. The fact you get them all in one irresistible movie makes it a bonanza of fun.

"The Secret Life of Pets" is from Illumination Entertainment/Chris Meledandri, the same group that created "Despicable Me" and "The Minions." That same kind of crazy but clever style permeates this film from beginning to end. Plus in one scene there are some minion looking hot dogs making an appearance.

The main storyline of the movie centers around Max (voiced by Louis C. K.), an adorable dog owned by Katie (Ellie Kemper). His world is a blissful one until one day Katie brings home a "brother" for Max. He is a huge dog and his name is Duke (Eric Stonestreet). It is dislike at first sight. Duke kind of makes an effort but Max does not want any competition for Katie's affection.

As the plot progresses Max and Duke end up on the streets of New York City without their collars. Max's friend Gidget (Jenny Slate), who sees herself as Max's girlfriend, notices his absence and organizes the other animals in their neighborhood to form a search party.

All of this is beautifully animated and told with sharp, funny dialogue. Plus the assignment of vocal parts is pitch perfect. Kevin Hart is hilarious as Snowball, a deranged rabbit that steals every scene in which he is featured. Slater's Gidget is another real plus for the movie. On the animated side the best drawn animal is Chloe. Chloe, a big gray cat, is voiced by Lake Bell and is my favorite character in the film. She isn't the star but she is the animal I looked for even when she was in the background.

On the negative side, the movie might be just a little slow in its setup, and there might be an overabundance of animals to follow. That might be a hindrance to the enjoyment by the smallest kids. Still I would rather have more of everything to enjoy than less.

The film is rated PG for some scary characters and cartoon violence.

"The Secret Life of Pets" had one of the best trailers of the year and this really helped build anticipation for the movie. The trailer scene featuring Chloe at the door of the refrigerator has to be one of the most clever segments in ages. Just watching her emotions be torn between eating the chicken or not made me laugh out loud.

There have been some great animated movies this year but "The Secret Life of Pets" blows them all out of the water.

I scored "The Secret Life of Pets" a sweet Chloe 7 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com