The Secret Life of Pets 2.
The original film was fine, but wasn’t anything that I ever looked forward to revisiting, ultimately being a bit forgettable. Does this sequel manage to make a lasting impact?
Max (Patton Oswalt) loves his life, made even better by having a new baby in the family. However, he’s become so protective that he gets a nervous tick and repetitive itch, forcing his family to take a calm weekend in the country, where Max encounters a wise old farm dog named Rooster (Harrison Ford). Back in the city, our superhero rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart) encounters a dog in need (Tiffany Haddish), who needs help rescuing some animals from a visiting circus. We also get returning voices such as Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, Eric Stonestreet, and Dana Carvey.
This is the Kevin Hart / Tiffany Haddish combination that we deserve, managing to play to both of their strengths and actually pulling off some clever humor. Step aside Night School. I laughed much more than I remember laughing at the original, so that’s something.
I also appreciated Patton Oswalt, as he replaced Louis C.K. as the main dog Max. Oswalt’s Max was a little more sympathetic, especially given the more sentimental nature of this film.
What doesn’t work?
This feels like three separate story arcs that don’t really come together in a meaningful way (yes, they do come together but I’d argue how well that worked). While I enjoyed Max’s arc, his detour to the farm didn’t really land, ultimately just resulting in one adventure with the dog Rooster and then all of a sudden he learned a life lesson. It felt like amateur writing, just getting a sequel cranked out.
I realize as I’m typing this that I’m maybe being too critical. But when we get animated films that do everything right, ala Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, it’s hard to not have a high bar. So yes, if you just want a kids movie and some decent laughs, this will do it, but this movie doesn’t excel at anything and might leave adult viewers a little disappointed.
Here’s the thing you need to consider… If you’re bringing the kids for a fun movie out, this will absolutely do the trick. It’s funny and is full of repeatable moments for your little ones to copy. It’s an A+, it does the job. However, if we step back and look at this in the genre of animated movies with today’s high bar, this falls short. This movie doesn’t do anything risky or new, has a few subplots that don’t really matter, and ultimately will be pretty forgettable for most of you that are now adults.