The Secret Life of Pets follows the story of Max (Louis C.K.), a loveable dog who just wants to spend time with his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). His life is perfect, except for one day when Katie, much to Max's disapproval, adopts a second dog from the pound, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The two don't see eye to eye, and after a series of mishaps, they end up lost in the city together, having to find their way back home in an area they don't know how to navigate. Max's neighbour, and secret admirer, Gidget (Jenny Slate), decides to put out a search party for Max, that includes a variety of different local animals that Max is friends with.
The idea of pets having secret social lives behind their owner's backs is a really fun concept to play with, and leads to a handful of scenarios such as the ones depicted in the trailers. The trailer montage is, essentially, a shortened version of the montage in the film, and there's a lot of fun to be had with simply exploring the day to day activities of these animals. There's so much fun and inventive ideas presented, and there were moments that had me laughing pretty hard. From a cat that hates everyone to a rodent that just can't find its way home, the characters displayed are hilariously accurate, and I loved each and every one of them.
While the premise is amazing, the storyline itself does feel rather generic. It's essentially Toy Story, but with animals, and sure, the storyline presented in Toy Story has been replicated in other films, but with The Secret Life of Pets it just feels noticeably similar. With a few of the other knock offs, it doesn't always hit you when you're watching it, but with The Secret Life of Pets, it does. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't 100% follow the structure of Toy Story, and some of the best moments are when it deviates and does its own original thing, but the similarities are undeniably there.
To sum up, The Secret Life of Pets is a familiar, but harmless journey that's saved by its creative concept, talent voice cast, splendid animation, hilarious moments and emotional core. It never reaches its full potential, but with a sequel confirmed to be on the way, there's room for so much more, and I can't wait. I'd be happy to watch ten different sequels.