Terrier Max is coping with some major life changes. His owner is now married and has a toddler, Liam. Max is so worried about protecting the boy that he develops a nervous tic. On a family trip to a farm, Max and mutt Duke encounter canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a terrifying turkey, all of which only elevates Max’s anxiety. Luckily, Max gets some guidance from veteran farm dog Rooster, who pushes Max to ditch his neuroses, find his inner alpha, and give Liam a little more freedom.
Meanwhile, while her owner is away, plucky Pomeranian Gidget tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe, who has discovered the joys of catnip.
And crazy-but-cute bunny Snowball gets delusions of grandeur that he’s an actual superhero after his owner Molly starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy, a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s only been pretending to be.
Can Max, Snowball, Gidget and the rest of the gang find the inner courage to face their biggest fears?
What We Thought:
The Secret Life of Pets 2 isn’t as good as the first movie, but it’s still a fun family film. Kids will like it and parents won’t mind sitting through it. I was a big fan of the first film and going into it you had no idea what to expect. With this sequel you kind of knew what to expect and that hurt it a little, but it’s still something I would watch again and it’s better than most of the recent Pixar films.
Besides already having expectations, the biggest issue with the film is there so much going on. Look at that synopsis up there, that’s a lot. There is pretty much three storylines going on that then meet to wrap up the third act. Max and Duke now watch over baby Liam and go to a farm where Max tries to relax and meets Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford). Meanwhile Gidget needs to act like a cat to get a toy back that belongs to Max. Snowball joins a new character, Daisy, to rescue a tiger from an evil circus owner. They all join forces at the end, but it felt like Avengers where so much is happening you forget about certain characters for a while before they pop up again.
But ultimately it’s a movie for kids and kids will like it. I laughed at scenes and kids at the screening did as well. All the kids seemed to talk positively about it afterwards and that’s great. I don’t think it will come close to the money the first film made because it’s not as good and Toy Story 4 is out soon and families might save their money for that one.
The biggest addition is Harrison Ford. This is Ford’s animated-film debut and I actually really liked him as the old-timey farm dog. He teaches Max how to find his inner tough dog and Ford really knocks it out of the park. Tiffany Haddish is also a newcomer as Daisy, but Ford really stood out to me. The voice of Max is changed from Louis CK to Patton Oswalt because of “issues” but kids won’t notice the difference.
Illumination Studios is one of my favorite animated studios with more movies I like than Pixar. The Secret Life of Pets 2 isn’t their best, but it’s still fun and colorful and musical and everything kids like. I liked it overall and hope families go out and see it.
Directors: Chris Renaud & Jonathan Del Val
Writer: Brian Lynch
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy
Cast: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Harrison Ford, Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, Hannibal Buress, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Pete Holmes, Garth Jennings, Bobby Moynihan