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ou ever wonder what shenanigans your pets get into when you set off for work? Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions) tackle that idea with their new animation film The Secret Life of Pets.

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Co-directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney look to stir the imagination of children with their latest animated adventure. Next to toys the second best thing in the world to a young child is a pet. Pixar already handled that element and now Illumination successfully tackles the world of pets.

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The Secret Life of Pets  focuses around Max (Louis C.K.), a terrier who was taken in by his owner Katie (Ellen Kemper) when he was a puppy. Over the course of several years they form an unbreakable bond which becomes tested when Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet).

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Of course being the territorial creature that he is, Max is not to fond of his new housemate, and they are immediately thrust into a rivalry. The canine beef eventually leads into acts of vandalism and even framing that somehow leads the two domesticated animals outside of their safe apartment. Now lost in the beautifully drawn city of New York, Max and Duke meet Snowball (Kevin Hart), a cute and maniacal bunny who leads a pack of sewer dwelling animals called “The Flushed Pets”. Clearly hurt over being abandoned,Snowball is hell-bent on ridding the world of humans and liberating domesticated pets. Hart’s very random gang of “liberators” includes Tattoo (Micael Beattie) a tattooed pig that was used for practice at a tattoo parlor,Ripper a muzzled bull-dog, Dragon (Brian T.Delaney) a lizard and a crocodile.

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Now missing, Max’s neighboring pet buddies go on a mission to find their friend Max. Led by Gidget (Jenny Slate) a cute but tough fluffy pomeranian and is also Max.s secret admirer, Buddy (Hannibal Buress) a dachshund,Norman (Chris Renaud) a guinea pig who can’t find his way back home and wanders the in the vents of the building, Mel (Bobby Moynihan) a super excitable pug, Sweetpea a super brave budgie, Chloe (Lake Bell) a fat cat who loves food and Tiberius (Albert Brooks) a sharp wit red-tailed hawk.

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Sweetpea, Chloe,Norman, Mel, Buddy, Gidget.

On their adventure to find Max, they take a detour to Brooklyn which brings them to Pops (Dana Carvey) a very old basset hound who knows his way around the city. With his help they navigate the the busy streets of New York in search of their friend Max and look to foil Snowball’s plans.

Final Verdict

The Secret Life of Pets isn’t anything groundbreaking as far as the story is concerned, but it definitely has the legs to become as popular as Pixar’s Toy Story franchise. All of the voice acting is done wonderfully, I was most impressed with Louis C.K.’s portrayal of Max, Lake Bell as Chloe and Kevin Hart as Snowball who was easily my favorite character.

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The Secret Life of Pets will definitely have you wondering what exactly goes in your pets life when you’re not around and believing that crazy situations the talking pets get themselves into are possible. Most importantly though the kids will love it as it will more than likely have them looking at their beloved pets in a whole new light after checking out the film. In a summer movie blockbuster season seemingly dominated by caped crusaders and super villains, The Secret Life of Pets is a perfect alternative for the kids and introduce them to characters that will be loved for years to come.

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4 out of 5

The Secret Life of Pets is in theaters July 8th!

PHOTOS: Illumination Entertainment

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