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Movie Review: 'The Secret Life of Pets'

Parents need to know that "The Secret Life of Pets" is a clever, engaging adventure about what our dogs, cats, birds and other domesticated creatures get up to when we're not around. In the movie's case, it involves quite a bit of danger and peril: Main characters Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are frequently chased, sometimes on foot and sometimes in cars/vans/buses, which bang into things, crash and catch on fire. They also dodge Animal Control officers; navigate dank, gloomy sewers; face off against an enormous viper and other predators/angry animals; and confront each other via barking, growling, yelling and more. At one point it looks like a main character may not survive, and one bad guy dies in an altercation. There's some bodily function humor (a Chihuahua pees on the floor in excitement, dogs sniff each other's rear ends, etc.), a fair bit of insult language ("dumb," "stupid," "weirdo," "idiots," "cry baby," etc.), and one use of swear stand-in "holy schnitzel." But underlying all this are positive messages about friendship, teamwork, perseverance and empathy—as well as the futility of revenge and the importance of being open to new friends and the experiences that life brings. Max and Duke's relationship could particularly resonate with blended families and/or those dealing with sibling issues.

Rated: PG

Running Time: 90 minutes

Read the full review on Common Sense Media.

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