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Review: ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ finds fun in hairy situations (Includes first-hand account)

Change can be difficult for everyone, non-humans included. It can disrupt whatever you’ve come to perceive as normal, alter long-standing routines, and add or remove others from your life. Whether it’s for better or worse, change is inevitable so sometimes you just have to make the best of it even when it doesn’t feel like an improvement… but hopefully, with a little time, that sentiment can change too. In The Secret Life of Pets 2, Max is now glad to have his big pal Duke, but is he ready for a new baby to enter the mix?

There comes a time in a dog’s life when his single owner meets someone. Then they move in together, maybe get married and possibly have kids. Max (Patton Oswalt) dreaded this day because after all the horrors he and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) have seen at the park, he resolutely concluded he hates kids. Everything was fine when they first brought Liam home, but when he became mobile Max spent most of his days hiding. Then an “I love you Max” and a hug changed everything. From then on Max wanted to protect toddler Liam from the world, which in turn made him a nervous wreck. In the meantime, Captain Snowball (Kevin Hart) gets his first real case from a dame named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish): save a frightened tiger from a cruel circus owner.

There’s basically three wholly separate narratives unfolding over the course of the film: 1) Max’s cowardice and love for Liam; 2) Snowball’s rescue of the captive tiger; and 3) Gidget’s (Jenny Slate) infiltration of an apartment full of cats. All the fun characters from the original film return, though there’s definitely more of a focus on the three main personalities this time around. Max’s fear brings him to the attention of Rooster (Harrison Ford), a farm dog with a tough exterior that resolves to bring Max back to his senses and cure his anxiety. Snowball is lucky to be paired with a spunky pooch, though Pops (Dana Carvey) is less keen to lend a paw. But some of the most amusing scenes involve Gidget’s cat training via Chloe (Lake Bell).

This is a movie of moments. The overall story targets a slightly younger audience than before, but there is enough for everyone to enjoy sprinkled throughout. After all, who doesn’t enjoy watching adorable furballs do silly things and save even less intelligent creatures, including a careless goat, a scaredy cat and helpless squeaky toy.

Directors: Chris Renaud and Jonathan del Val (co-director)
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish

Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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