The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Secret Life of Pets</strong> (2016)

(In French, in 3D, In theatres, July 2016) There’s little doubt that The Secret Life of Pets often feels like a derivative of other, better-animated movies. Cute pets being revealed as sentient then going on an adventure? Not much of a stretch for a computer-animated feature. But there’s some charm and fun in the execution of the premise, as we get a look at New York from a pet’s eye view. Fast and funny direction by Illumination Entertainment (best known for the Minion franchise) makes the film easy and entertaining to watch. While the plotting can get sloppy at times (such as a gratuitously dramatic interlude about a pet’s master’s death, intercut soon after a gloriously funny sausage factory fantasy), it does introduce a quirky group of characters, move the pieces effectively around the board and, perhaps more importantly, provide a solid emotional conclusion. (The effectiveness of the “masters coming home to their pets” sequence may depend on whether you are yourself a pet owner.) The Secret Life of Pets amounts to a film that should please entire families: funny and frantic for the kids, not entirely objectionable for parents and hopefully leading to treats for the family pet. A sequel is inevitable.

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