The original Secret Life of Pets movie came out in 2016. I thought it was decent if ultimately forgettable. Ryan found it incredibly boring. It still sold a lot of tickets, so now there’s a sequel.
Did it turn out better?
I am sure we are all aware sequels rarely turn out better. As such, I am pleased to report that this one didn’t turn out better. But what it did do is something that has me thinking the movie over in ways I didn’t think I would for a generally harmless kid-friendly cartoon sequel.
The movie opens with terrier Max (Patton Oswalt, replacing original voice Louis CK for…reasons) talking about how he doesn’t like kids. In short order, his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) meets a man, and they have a baby. However, after the first movie basically recreated the plot of the original Toy Story only with dogs, this movie opts to have Max quickly accept the new baby. Max soon gets a little too concerned with the baby’s safety. That leads to anxiety for Max.
Meanwhile, pet rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes he’s a superhero. When a Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) asks him to save a young white tiger from a cruel circus, he’s off to help immediately.
While that is going on, Max and his family head off to the country for a vacation. While there, Max meets Rooster, a grumpy old farm dog played by grumpy old actor Harrison Ford. Before he left, Max asked his neighbor Gidget (Jenny Slate) to watch his favorite toy. Naturally, Gidget loses it.
So, this movie seemed to lack much of a coherent plot compared to the previous movie. It felt more episodic as Max, Gidget, and Snowball all had seemingly separate adventures. Max’s was rather generic. Your enjoyment in Snowball’s plot will probably depend on how much you like Kevin Hart. Gidget’s plot has the most cartoonish creativity, particularly when she has to infiltrate a cat lady’s apartment. There didn’t seem to be too much special about the movie. If the first one stole from Toy Story, this one even ends with something that may have stolen from The Incredibles right down to some of the musical score. If anything, the addition of a cartoonishly evil Russian circus owner (Nick Kroll) and his animal associates takes the sequel even further from the original’s premise that all this happens without humans noticing anything.
And yet, I didn’t hate the movie. There’s nothing special about it, I probably won’t remember much about it later, but I somewhat enjoyed my time watching it. I suspect the more cartoonish aspects of the sequel appealed more to me than the original did, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to others. I think I’ll just give it the same grade as last time. Then again, it may just be how much the cat character Chloe (Lake Bell) reminds me of my own cat. They even look similar…
7.5 out of 10 kittens in a puppy training class.