While this provides enough colourful pet-fuelled entertainment for youngsters to laugh and giggle at – it really offers very little to inspire anyone above the age of ten.
Sadly with the abundance of animations hitting the market nowadays even adults expect a level of Pixar-inspired ingenuity, clever ‘in’ jokes, sometimes a deep and meaningful message, and a storyline with a few twists and turns – but this doesn’t really offer any of that.
It’s just passable fare, featuring animals padded out from one premise – what pets get up to when their owners go to work from ‘nine to five’.
It’s as simple as that, and if it wasn’t for the villain of the piece – Kevin Hart’s whacky white rabbit Snowball – and Jenny Slate’s loved-up Pomeranian dog Gidget to provide a modicum of comic relief, this would have lacked any bark at all.
Inside a Manhattan apartment building, terrier Max (Louis CK) lives a spoiled life with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper), and hangs out with other pets such as obese tabby cat Chloe (Lake Bell) and pug dog Mel (Bobby Moynihan). But when Katie adopts large mongrel dog Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Max’s perfect existence is thrown into turmoil by this sloppy and careless new housemate.
This leads to a battle of wits between them to gain the higher ground, before they inadvertently get caught by animal control and have to pledge their allegiance to human-hating Snowball (and his eclectic gang of former disgruntled pets) when he frees them – and takes them into the sewers of New York City.
In the meantime, Max’s pals, including Gidget – who has a crush on him – enlist the help of the city’s pet ‘dogfather’ Pops (Dana ‘Wayne’s World’ Carvey) to try and track him down.
Surprisingly, despite coming from the makers of the far superior Despicable Me, this offers absolutely nothing new whatsoever, but does just about enough to while away a pleasant hour and a half for kids and pet lovers alike, with a handful of decent gags thrown in. That’s about it.
But with the bar raised by so many in the genre – see the recent Zootropolis for example – it really is devoid of any real bite.
Gavin Miller[youtube id=”UZJVc_JTI_w” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Voice Cast: Louis Ck, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Lake Bell, Albert Brooks, Jenny Slate, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Ellie Kemper, Steve Coogan & Dana Carvey
Running Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins
Directors: Chris Renaud & Yarrow Cheney
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