Following in the tradition of the Toy Story series, The Secret Life of Pets takes a look at what happens when humans aren't looking. Rather than focusing on inanimate objects, TSLOP (co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud) turns the spotlight on our beloved animal companions, particularly "man's best friend": dogs. In addition to its easy charm and humorous dialogue (which will appeal to almost all demographics and age groups), this summer offering is also notable for an impressive voice cast that's been culled from various different subsets of the comedy world. Preeminent standup comedian Louis C.K. voices Max, a docile dog who lives with his owner Katie (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Ellie Kemper) in New York City. Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet voices Duke, a much larger canine whom Katie brings home one day, and whose presence interrupts Max's life of blissful solitude and constant attention from his owner. Max and Duke begin to fight, and their feud eventually causes both of them to get lost in the city; to make matters worse, they end up captured by animal control following a squabble with some alley cats (one of the felines is played by Steve Coogan, a cult hero for his work on British television). Max's absence doesn't go unnoticed by his neighbor, a cat named Gidget (Saturday Night Live alum and alternative-comedy icon Jenny Slate), and she enlists the help of his friends -- the laconic dachshund Buddy (standup performer/alt-comedy actor Hannibal Buress) and the dim-witted pug Mel (SNL alum Bobby Moynihan) -- to find him. They are eventually joined on their quest by grumpy, pampered cat Chloe (actor and filmmaker Lake Bell), an intimidating fowl called Tiberius (Oscar-nominated actor/writer/director Albert Brooks), and an elderly, well-connected, somewhat incapacitated dog fittingly named Pops (sketch-comedy legend Dana Carvey). Even after they escape from temporary captivity, Max and Duke are forced to evade the clutches of a bloodthirsty rabbit named Snowball (Kevin Hart, one of the hottest comedy actors in the movies today), who commands an army of abandoned pets and is plotting revenge against both humanity and their animal brethren who have become "domesticated." All of the action takes place within the span of a single day, and the film comes up with a plot that convincingly fits into this narrow timeframe. In addition, TSLOP is almost as much of a love letter to New York City as it is to our pets, and the animation is clean and eye grabbing. Any studio can assemble comedians to read lines, but the consistently fun, often witty screenplay by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, and Brian Lynch makes sure that no one's time (including the viewer's) goes to waste. Hart in particular does terrific work: His excitable faux-rage has never been put to better use outside of his own standup specials, and he makes Snowball a fully realized character meant to be alternately feared and pitied. Bell and Carvey are excellent as well, as they portray two very different kinds of curmudgeons. And Slate, already well-known for her vocal work in the hugely popular comedy short Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, steals the show as the lovestruck Gidget, offering laughs for both kids and adults, as well as a strong, determined female hero for those looking for one. The film's pacing becomes an issue as it reaches the three-quarter mark, and it feels rushed at various points as it tries to wrap up its story line while keeping the runtime under 90 minutes. But for viewers willing to tolerate the movie's more harried final moments, belly laughs and some genuinely touching moments await. Pets have always managed to capture the hearts of their owners due to their loyalty and unabashed affection. The Secret Life of Pets manages to capture that spirit by imbuing its animal heroes with the gumption, faithfulness, and sense of fun that we all want to believe they still display when our eyes are turned away.