Director(s): Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Starring: Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Eric Stonestreet, Louis C.K.
Max (Louis C.K.) lives an idyllic life, until his owner decides to adopt a new dog, Duke (Stonestreet). When they find themselves far away from home, Max and Duke must put aside their differences to try and find their way back, whilst their pet pals try to find them as well.
The teasers and trailers for this showed a lot of promise, particularly the teaser with highlights including a greedy cat and a heavy-metal loving poodle. I’ll be the first to admit that some of this films funniest moments have already been seen in the teaser, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
I was grinning from ear to ear watching this film, and whilst it lacks the tact and charm of Pixar, it makes up for it with an abundance of humour. I won’t spoilt much more than this, but I will say there are some great recurring jokes, and that Kevin Hart’s Snowball the Bunny is an absolute scene-stealer!
Indeed, it is the cast of this film which makes it so strong; Louis C.K. is great as Max and Jenny Slate is loveably hyperactive as pampered pooch Gidget.
There’s some great riffing on the relationship between cats and dogs, and a truly wonderful nod to the internet’s obsession with cat videos! Kids will adore the zany humour in this film, but there’s plenty of subtle nods for the parents without being too knowing. Try and spot the Alien reference, it’s so great!
With Pixar still very much the big hitter in the animation world, I really like that Universal/Illumination are doing their own thing. There’s one moment (again I won’t spoil) which Pixar would’ve absolutely milked to make as emotional as possible, but this film doesn’t go there and keeps the tone light. Pixar do what they do and they do it amazingly, and finally other studios are realising they can do their own thing and that’s ok.
Tonally everything worked in this film for me, with exactly the right amount for kids and adults. It’s very funny, sweet, and easy to watch, and make sure you stay for the mid-credits scene!
Only one thing for me here really. The plot is very by the numbers, and not a whole lot happens, but everything that does happen is very entertaining. Those with very high standards in animation might find it a little simplistic, but let’s not forget it is a kids film after all, and the simple narrative certainly wouldn’t be something which concerns them!
I saw this movie and you should do. I had a great time watching this movie, and I think it’s hard not to have a great time watching it really! It’s silly, funny, and wildly entertaining, with a great cast and plenty for adults and kiddies alike. Definitely one to watch!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!