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Film Review

Secret Life of Pets 2

Directed by Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val (co-director)
From: Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment
Released: 06.06.19
Review by Sarah Madden | June 6, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Basically: Even the littlest of us are heroes inside if we only find the confidence.

In Secret Life of Pets 2 we follow three forking plots that are tied back together to create a dynamic storyline that is fun for everyone. Our favorite tiny dog, Max, is back and we find out that even though he doesn’t like kids his own eventually grows on him. Patton Oswalt is the perfect replacement for Louis CK as the voice of Max the parental dog. At times when Louis CK might have sounded annoyed Patton sounds anxious. No matter the reason for the switch, it works well for the character. Parents and caregivers can relate to Max’s new found joy and terror as he realizes just how hard it can be to keep baby Liam out of harm’s way. Where Max once strolled down the street generally unphased by pigeons he now sees them as a dire threat as he protects his baby. With his new responsibility comes anxiety that presents itself in the form of a nervous scratching tick. A trip to the country seems like it will be good for what ails him and the family consisting of Katie (Ellie Kemper), her husband Chuck (Pete Holmes), Liam (Henry Lynch), Max, and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) go for a visit.

While at the farm Max struggles to find his courage while a series of events unfolds leaving him to his own devices. Harrison Ford’s Rooster is gruff and hyper-masculine to the point of hilarity. The character could seem off base in today’s society but Ford’s comedic efforts will have you in stitches if you only follow along understanding the writers were poking fun at the stereotype. The hardened rural character who knows better than sappy city folk still works for the plot and the extreme is funny if you have a sense of humor.

Back in the city, Gidget (Jenny Slate) has been left in charge of Max’s favorite toy and her undying love is still glaringly obvious. Despite her devotion, she still manages to botch her babysitting job and end up surrounded by trouble in the cat lady’s apartment.

There, the introduction of another new character leaves the audience completely fulfilled. Of course, Tiffany Haddish would voice an unstoppable character full of sass and confidence. Her shih-tzu, Daisy, brings big laughs and a big heart as she and Snowball (Kevin Hart) try to free a captive baby tiger. At times you’ll wonder if Hart and Haddish voiced their parts together with how well they play off of one another. Daisy’s natural bravery eggs on Snowball’s imagined heroism letting the idea shine through that if you just believe in yourself you can do anything.

The animation is absolutely stellar. The intricate textures echo the well-woven stories that come together for a happy ending. The plot is strong and there are still plenty of visual one-liners to keep the quickly paced family adventure moving. While the movie has a target audience anyone with a heart and a funny bone will enjoy.

In the End: Go see it. You’ll want to watch as the pets find out that the courage to save the day was inside them all along, right next to their funny bones.

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