Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Film review: The Secret Life of Pets

After seeing the trailer of this animated film, I thought we were in for a charming treat that would settle somewhere between all the other secret worlds we have enjoyed—Toy Story, A Bugs Life, The Lego Movie. But it turned out the best gags (I can watch the clip of the Dachshund using a mixer as a back scratcher on repeat) were packed into the trailer.

Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and Yarrow Cheney direct Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio’s script exploring what happens to all the domesticated animals once their owners shut their front doors and leave for a day of work, school or whatever.

We see their world through the eyes of the little terrier Max (voiced by Louis C.K.), who adores his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper), and dutifully waits for her all day. In every home in a cluster of Manhattan apartments pets go Jekyll and Hyde the minute the front door is latched: we see a head-banging poodle, a bulldog obsessed with scaring off squirrels, an arrogant, preening Persian cat and a pomeranian, Gidget (Jenny Slate), who harbours a secret crush on Max.

Max’s idyllic life turns turtle when Katie brings home an oversized, hairy dog called Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The rivalry between Max and Duke takes them on a dangerous adventure, on which they encounter Animal Control, a pack of nasty felines and an underground gang of discarded pets. The “flushed pets", which include reptiles, dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and so on, have formed a revolutionary group led by Snowball, the bunny rabbit (Kevin Hart). Their goal is to exact revenge on cruel humans. Snowball tries to recruit Max and Duke into their group, but soon discovers that they are domesticated. The rivals have no choice but to unite in order to escape and find their way home to Katie.

In the meanwhile, Gidget has put together a ragtag team of pets to help her find Max and bring him back home to Manhattan. What starts off as a sassy and irreverent idea with a garnish of cuteness loses its way and hurtles around without flow, leading only to a predictable end of Max and Duke living harmoniously with Katie.

Kinetic at times, colourful and with scattered humour, The Secret Life Of Pets is a treat for children, but offers no great insights into the secret life of pets.

The Secret Life of Pets released in theatres on Friday.

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