'Secret Life of Pets 2' review: Three storylines; one heartfelt message – AZCentralPets
For kids, pets are their best friends that grow up by their side. They play together, cuddle together and share snacks.
“The Secret Life of Pets 2” capitalizes on plenty of heartfelt moments like these successfully. The animation is clean and colorful, and punchlines hit their mark with adults and children under director Chris Renaud’s guidance for a second time. But they also heavily hit audiences with action from three loosely tied story lines, making many “meanwhile” breaks between stories. It is a movie for kids, after all.
This sequel follows the lives pets lead while their humans are away, but this time the adventure moves beyond New York City. Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are at the park with their human, Katie (Ellie Kemper), when Max expresses his disdain for children as a few quite literally dogpile an Old English sheepdog in the background. But Katie meets a man named Chuck and the couple have a baby boy, Liam.
Max embodies every parent when he says, “I thought things were going to be OK until he started talking.” But despite the early ear tugging and rough play, Liam learns to be gentle with his pups and grows to rely on Max and Duke as his best friends.
With great love for someone comes a fierce protective nature, and Max fears for the child’s life multiple times. He protects him from touching used gum and pigeons, and it stresses out the lead pooch as he uncontrollably scratches himself.
A much-needed road trip to an uncle’s farm brings Max and Duke to Rooster, a herding alpha dog with Harrison Ford’s nonchalant voice. Where are the other pets in the meantime? Gidget (Jenny Slate) finds herself learning how to be a cat with Chloe (Lake Bell) after losing Max’s favorite toy in a crazy cat lady’s apartment. Snowball (Kevin Hart) helps his new friend Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) rescue an abused circus tiger. And Mel the pug and Buddy the dachshund are hardly in this story.
Yes, these are all very different storylines. They work, but sometimes they’re also jarring in comparison, especially when the circus’ namesake Sergei (Nick Kroll) feels thrown in as a last-minute villain for the sake of kids attaching a bad guy to the movie. Maybe the creators might’ve had multiple plot ideas for a sequel and couldn’t decide on one. But maybe it was to keep kids’ attention at the same time because who knows how long they would watch a film if it was just about Max’s relationship with Liam?
At least people will laugh with this film because it perfectly draws its humor from the tendencies of cats and dogs, from a cat’s magnetic desire to knock over objects to a dog’s natural instinct to chase a ball at any cost.
And even though Louis C.K. didn’t reprise his role as Max, Patton Oswalt does a great job. And newcomers Haddish and Ford fit in well. The cast brings as much doggone fun as the last.
Directors: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford.
Rating: PG for some action and rude humor
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Want to pitch a story idea? Reach reporter Samantha Incorvaia at email@example.com or 602-444-4968. Follow her on Twitter at @_SamI520.
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