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THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS: 4 STARS. “as deep as a dog’s dish but doggone funny.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 6.14.51 PMIf you believe a new animated movie from Minions main man Chris Renaud (with co-director Yarrow Cheney), drinking from the toilet, chewing up furniture and napping are not the only things pets do when their owners are gone.

Max (voice of Louis C.K.), a brown-and-white Jack Russell Terrier has a great life with his human Katie (Ellie Kemper). They live together in a nice New York apartment and pass the time taking walks and playing. At first there’s only one problem, “Pretty much every day she leaves.”

While Katie is at work Max misses her but fills the endless hours hanging out with the other pets in his complex. There’s Buddy the dachshund (Hannibal Buress) who uses a Mixmaster as a back scratch, an obese tabby named Chloe (Lake Bell) who regularly empties the fridge and a poodle who rocks out to death metal when her opera-loving roommate is out of the house.

When Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a big slobbering beast of a dog and “brother” for Max, the Jack Russell’s life, errr, ahhh, goes to the dogs. The ensuing battle for alpha dog supremacy brings on canine confusion as it spills out of the apartment and onto the street. Max and Duke must now contend with dogcatchers and the human-hating Flushed Pets gang—Liberation Forever! Domestication Never!—while Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian with the hots for Max, launches a rescue mission.

Animal slapstick has done well this year. First “Zootopia” gave us a menagerie of messages and laughs and now “The Secret Life of Pets” strolls along. Funny and charming, it isn’t as rich in subtext as “Zootopia,” but what it lacks in meaningful moralizing it makes up for in silly fun. It’s as deep as a dog’s dish, but it is, one might say, doggone funny.

Renaud brings the kind of bizarro humour that made the Minions a hit—the facial expressions of the pets are often as funny as their dialogue and there is a surreal musical number with edible singing sausages—to “Secret Life.” That, with a healthy mix of slapstick keeps the pace up for the younger kids. Older folks should get a kick out of the stereotypes, how the movie plays into them—“I’m your friend,” purrs Chloe, “and as your friend I don’t care about you or your problems.”—and against them—ie Kevin Hart as Snowball, the adorable but vicious bunny.

To bulk up “The Secret Life of Pets” short running time a new short, “Mower Minions,” is tacked on the front. As the strange yellow jellybeans try and make money to buy a new blender the age-old question, Do minions have tiny tattooed bums?, is finally answered probably to the delight of the kids everywhere.

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