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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Movie Review - The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Featuring the vocal talents of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, and Albert Brooks 
Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

There's nothing inherently wrong with the animated The Secret Life of Pets, but this Illumination Entertainment picture (from the company that brought us the mind-bogglingly popular and also mind-numbing Despicable Me franchise) doesn't excite in any way -- visually, vocally, plot-wise.  In the end, it just sort of sits there, creating amusing-enough background noise, but not involving the viewer in any way.

In full disclosure, I'm not a "pet person" so the plot about what happens when owners leave their pets home alone for the day doesn't ingratiate itself to me at all.  Human Katie (Ellie Kemper) and her dog Max (Louis C.K.) have a nice life together in their small apartment in New York City.  Things are going swell for Max, but then Katie decides to adopt another dog -- a big ole mutt named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) -- which sets off a tension-filled fight for dominance between the two canines.  This leads to a romp through the Big Apple with silly story tangents that fail to really create a cohesively engaging story.

Much like other Illumination Animation pictures, the visuals look decent, but never exquisitely intricate or cleverly designed.  The basic nature carries over to the vocal talent which takes a cadre of comedians who give solid performances, but nothing exciting.  The lack of anything truly riveting is a staple of this studio's animated pics and until they up the ante, they'll just be middle-of-the-road like The Secret Life of Pets.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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