“The Secret Life of Pets” (Universal)

Max, voiced by Louis C.K., Duke, voiced by Eric Stonestreet and Katie, voiced by Ellie Kemper, appear in the animated movie "The Secret Life of Pets." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

When a pampered terrier (voice of Louis C.K.) is forced to make room for the new dog (voice of Eric Stonestreet) his owner (voice of Ellie Kemper) has rescued from the pound, their rivalry leads to a series of comic misadventures over the course of which their mutual hostility begins to soften in the face of adversity. Romance also blossoms as one of the cossetted protagonist’s neighbors — a fluffy Pomeranian (voice of Jenny Slate) who harbors a secret crush on him — proves her mettle in his hour of need.

Together with co-director Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud helms an entertaining free-for-all in which amusing characters and pleasing visuals of the Manhattan setting predominate over a serviceable but sketchy plot. Targeted tots will learn lessons about accepting the arrival of a younger sibling and about the value of self-sacrifice. But the smallest may be put off by the dangers that loom on screen while some parents may not be pleased by all the litterbox humor on display there.

Potentially frightening scenes of peril, considerable cartoon violence, numerous scatological jokes involving animals.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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