So far the best mainstream cartoon of the summer is The Secret Life of Pets. Unlike Finding Dory it mostly avoids lessons, sticking to action-adventure-comedy tropes like a cat sticks to itself. It’s not as politically savvy or memorable as Zootopia, the best animated film of the year, but it offers something for adults: Mainly, the voices of Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, and Hannibal Buress. The plot goes like this: Max is a dog in love with his owner; when the owner brings home a new dog, the fur flies and both dogs end up on the lam from Animal Control. Max’s friends, led by an impossibly cute dog named Gidget, embark on a rescue mission while Max tries to escape a posse of animals, led by a pugnacious rabbit, trying to overthrow humans. The movie is at its best when it is outrageous—when the animals do preposterous things like rage to metal music, talk about killing humans, or wear nutty expressions on their faces. (Yes, anthropomorphism is still funny.) Of course what’s most outrageous about The Secret Life of Pets is that Max’s owner, a single Millennial who works regular hours, can afford a place in Manhattan.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White