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The Secret Life of Pets review: Animal lives are taken to the Max

By Damon Smith

Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper) lives in a Manhattan apartment with mischievous terrier Max (Louis CK). "Our love is stronger than words or shoes," explains Max, referring to his penchant for chewing his owner's footwear when he was a puppy.

His friends include pampered Eskimo dog Gidget (Jenny Slate) and house cat Chloe (Lake Bell), who has a disdain for anything that doesn't enrich her existence. "Dog people do weird, inexplicable things," she purrs, "like they get dogs instead of cats."

Max's bond with Katie is threatened when his owner brings home a lolloping mongrel named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), who she has saved from the pound. Intense rivalry spills onto the city streets where Max and Duke fall foul of a cat called Ozone (Steve Coogan) and are mistaken for strays by animal control officers.

The snarling enemies are rescued by maniacal white rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart), who forces them into service in his army of unwanted animals, who live in the sewers. The Secret Life Of Pets is the brainchild of the makers of Despicable Me and Minions, and has a similar visual style and family-friendly sense of humour.

Three stars

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