The Secret Life Pets 2 was the first non-Minion sequel from Illumination. In the time between the first movie, Despicable Me already reached its third installment. Despicable Me 2 felt like a natural progression for the franchise, but The Secret Life of Pets 2 is more like three short films loosely tied together. It’s basically the first movie all over again. Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Dana Carvey, and Ellie Kemper all return for the sequel except for the main star. I never cared for Louis C.K. in the first place, so I didn’t care that he was recast due to controversy. Patton Oswalt is a more lively replacement for Max anyway. The pets and their antics continue to be for children, but it’s still mostly amusing.
This time Max feels threatened by Katie’s son when she finds love with Chuck voiced by fellow comedian Pete Holmes. Max quickly becomes overprotective of Liam and he gets so stressed that he wears a dog cone. That seems to be the plot until the unfocused movie splits in three. One plot sees Max and Duke leave New York for a farm where Max learns to be brave. He’s taught by a gruff voiced Harrison Ford as sheepdog Rooster. Leaving the big city for a farm is pretty cliché, so you get what you expect. Another plot sees Gidget look after her crush Max’s favorite toy Busy Bee. The apartment is the only place we see Chloe, Buddy, Mel, Norman, Pops, and the rest of the pets. Gidget pretending to be a cat to enter a crazy cat lady’s apartment and rescue Busy Bee is cute, but it could’ve easily been a short film.
The final plot sees the now domesticated Snowball fantasize about being a superhero. Since Superhero movies are at an all time high, it feels a little played out to do something like this. I continue to tolerate Kevin Hart, but Tiffany Haddish is the same in everything she does. Even voicing a concerned Shih Tzu named Daisy who enlists Captain Snowball’s help to rescue a white tiger from a circus. Hu doesn’t speak, but it’s your basic animal rescue plot. Nick Kroll is the standard evil European circus owner Sergei who gets help from a psychotic monkey and villainous black wolves. The movie’s plots couldn’t be more disconnected, but they do manage to make everything relevant in the end. Ending with a more cringy scene where Snowball raps the “Panda” song. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is just a bunch of stuff that happens.
Preceded by: The Secret Life of Pets