As my current movie buddy is not quite three yet, he gets to pick the films we actually go and see in the theatre. “Pets 2”, as he calls it, was his latest pick. He was a big fan of the first Secret Life of Pets movie, which was one of the less annoying films he’s been fixated on so I was happy to take him along to the “cimena” to see the sequel.
Things have changed once again for New York, dog Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt). Not only has his owner gotten married but she’s also had a baby and while Max isn’t generally a fan of kids, he likes Liam. In fact he is so fond of Liam that he becomes anxious as soon as Liam is out of his sight.
In order to help Max cure his anxiety, the family goes on a trip to the farm. Here Max meets Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford), a no nonsense country dog whose tough love attitude might be just what Max needs.
Meanwhile Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) goes on an adventure with new friend, Daisy (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) to rescue a circus tiger from a stereotypical Russian villain.
And Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) pretends to be a cat in order to get Max’s beloved Buzzy Bee toy back from the local crazy cat lady’s horde.
Let’s face it, Secret Life of Pets is adorable and very funny but I have to admit that I was more invested in Gidget’s story line than Max’s. Maybe I am reading a bit too much into it but Max just “needing to be brave” to get over his anxiety is a bit of a problematic representation of mental health. That said, his interactions with Liam are adorable and he and his friend, Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) continue to be a great gang.
I loved Gidget’s cat training at the hands of Chloe (Lake Bell). Having owned both cats and dogs, seeing the differences between them demonstrated through the training was really funny. Chloe is probably my favourite character because she literally doesn’t give a fuck.
Little O loved Snowball and likes to pretend he is Snowball and jump on me from the sofa (it’s great). The juxtaposition of a fluffy little white rabbit with a mega attitude is always going to make for laughs. Snowball and Daisy’s story line is a bit silly but Hart and Haddish are just about charismatic to pull it off, even if it does go on a bit too long.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is not the instant classic the first one was and you could argue that we didn’t need a second one. It is fun though and the idea that our pets are living exciting lives when we are not home is always going to be appealing. Little O had a great time (apart from the fact that the turkey at the farm terrified him) and it was enjoyable for a one off watch. I don’t think I’d go back to it for a second one… well if I had a choice. I will probably have to watch it four thousand times in the near future. I guess it will be worth for the heartwarming montage of kids with their pets at the end.