The Secret Life of Pets

Consider this recommendation etched in stone — you will leave the theater with a large smile on your face.

The Secret Life of PetsExcluding the overlooked Sing Street, animation has provided the most enjoyable films of 2016. The Secret Life of Pets joins Zootopia, Jungle Book and Finding Dory as films that enthrall kids while captivating adults.

There are many reasons to praise The Secret Life of Pets but let me begin with the simple fact that most of the animals manifest traits familiar to pet owners. Since we have six small rescue dogs and one cat in our home, I’m speaking from personal experience.

Max (voiced by Louis C.K.), is a tiny dog living in a small apartment. He sits at the front door and stares with unashamed glee as he waits for his loving mother to return. However, everything is turned on its head when she comes home with Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a large, goofy dog that she has rescued from an animal shelter.

Given their unresolved animosity, the entire film follows our two spuds as they hit the street with the hope that one will become lost. In the process, they are forced to confront a cruel world, and the adventure is filled with hi-jinks that will leave you laughing repeatedly.

Let me mention that the film is dominated by an ongoing battle between a crew of animals led by a fluffy little dog called Gidget (Jenny Slate) and a horrid, hysterical bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart). Though Gidget finds great strength trying to help Max, an old friend that she adores, Snowball is one nasty bunny who leads an underground army of escaped animals and reptiles who are bent on destruction.

There are some additional magnificent contributions coming from Albert Brooks (Tiberius), Lake Bell as the chubby little cat Chloe and Dana Carvey as the old canine Pops. This movie is a box office hit for a very good reason, and I can only repeat that adults should see it in the theater with or without children.