Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are forced to adapt to change when their owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) gets married and has a baby. They are taken to the countryside for a vacation where Max meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), an older dog that wants to help him overcome his fears. Before leaving Max trusts Gidget (Jenny Slate) to look after his favourite toy, which she quickly loses to an apartment full of cats. Meanwhile Snowball (Kevin Hart) teams up with feisty new dog Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) to rescue a tiger called Hu that’s been trapped in a travelling circus.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 sticks closely to formula of the original putting the various animals in a variety of dangerous situations they need to work their way out of. Apart from a voice change, Patton Oswalt takes over from Louis C.K. who was disgraced during the #MeToo movement, the other difference is that the characters are split between three storylines before all coming together for the climax. There’s a surprising amount of action between the different storylines and Max and Duke are a little side-lined for the majority of the film.
Instead it’s Gidget and Snowball that get the focus for this outing. It’s not too surprising given that both characters stole the show during the original film. Gidget has to learn to become a cat with the help of grumpy cat friend Chloe (Lake Bell) so she can retrieve Max’s lost toy while Snowball, who is a rabbit, continues to live out his dream life as a would-be superhero determined to liberate Hu from captivity. Both storylines provide plenty of laughs and that’s in large part to the excellent voice work from Jenny Slate and Kevin Hart. Both have a lot of fun with their characters and frequently had me laughing out loud.
Like the original movie, The Secret Life of Pets 2 succeeds thanks to the way it depicts the animals. Anyone who has owned a pet will be able to recognise the behaviours the animators have captured here, whether it’s Chloe none-too-subtly trying to wake up her owner or Snowball patiently allowing his owner’s child to dress him as a variety of silly characters to participate in her make-believe games. There’s one very good scene where Max goes to the vets and talks to a frightening cat that terrorises its owner out of fear.
The film zips by with a fast-pace and at only 86-minutes, it ensures that families will have this on heavy rotation over the coming months. It’s an easy watch, very amusing and it has its heart in the right place. You’ll feel all warm and fuzzy, which is perfect for this time of year isn’t it?
The DVD release is absolutely crammed with extras from short movies, including a Minion one, behind-the-scenes featurettes, lyric videos and much more. There is definitely plenty of value for money with this release and lots to keep you busy once you’ve watched the film.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is everything you’d want it to be. It builds nicely on the original movie and plants plenty of scope for another instalment (which I’m sure will happen). It’s not challenging to watch and it can be enjoyed by the whole family. For me, it matched up to the original and I thought it was definitely on par with that film. The real question is when will Gidget and Snowball get their own spin-off?
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, Chris Renaud, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll Directors: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val Writer: Brian Lynch Certificate: U Duration: 86 mins Released by: Universal Pictures UK Release date: 7th October 2019 Buy The Secret Life of Pets 2