“The first step of not being afraid is acting like you’re not afraid,” says Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford) to Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) as the farm dog tries to teach the city dog not be afraid of everything in the country in the animated sequel, The Secret Lives of Pets 2.
The little terrier Max and his best friend Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) love their life with owner Katie. However, when she gets married and has a child it changes things. Max isn’t happy with having a baby in their apartment and worse yet the infant plays roughly with the little furry guy.
A few years later things once again change drastically when the young boy hugs Max and says he loves him. After that, Max becomes all about playing with Liam and keeping his two-legged sibling safe from the big bad world.
Max and Duke get another surprise when Katie and her hubby decide to go to the country to visit their in-laws on the farm. Max asks Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) to watch over his favorite toy while he’s away, and she happily agrees to since she’s still head-over-tail for the adorable terrier.
When Max and Duke arrive at the farm, they’re shocked to learn they have to sleep outside away from Katie and Liam. And worse yet – everything in the country from frogs to the crazy turkey that likes to chase them has poor Max trembling with nerves.
Meanwhile, Gidget loses Max’s favorite toy which ends up in an old lady’s apartment filled with cats. Poor Gidget’s forced to try to figure out a way to rescue Max’s toy so as not to disappoint the love of her live.
Catching up with the hyper bunny Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart), we learn he’s become obsessed with playing superhero. Snowball gets sought out by a new dog, Daisy (voiced by Tiffany Haddish), to go on a rescue mission to free a white tiger cub from a mean circus trainer.
Back on the farm, Max and Duke meet Rooster, a gruff farm dog with valuable lessons to impart to the city hounds. Rooster takes it upon himself to teach Max that always trying to protect Liam will keep him from learning life lessons and that he needs to stop being afraid of everything and dig down deep to find the courage Rooster knows he as in him because he’s a dog.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a cute, charming, and fun sequel to the 2016 original. The sequel continues the secret adventures of Max, Duke, Snowball, and Gidget as they go about their days when their sweet but clueless owners aren’t watching. The voice talents are spot-on including franchise newcomer Patton Oswalt (taking over for Louis C. K.) who voices the nervous but always well-meaning Max. This time around it’s all about Max finding his inner courage and Oswald nails that challenge.
Kevin Hart is back as Snowball, the confident rabbit about to find out the difference between playing superhero and trying to really be a hero. Jenny Slate returns as Gidget, the adorable, quirky Pomeranian ball of white fur determined to save Max’s ball from the apartment of eerie, creepy, and hilarious cats. Gidget’s subplot is so well written and entertaining it almost upstages Max’s main story.
A great addition to the sequel is the casting of Harrison Ford as the wise farm dog Rooster who becomes a mentor to Max. In his first voice performance in an animated film Ford’s deep, gruff, instantly recognizable voice is perfect for bringing the no time for nonsense farm dog to life. The scenes with Rooster and Max are some of the best in the film.
The animation’s bright and colorful, as it is with all Illumination Entertainment’s films. And the humor and physical antics are mixed together perfectly to entertain both children and adults, much in the same way the classic Looney Tunes animated shorts used to back in the day.
Fetching, funny, and adorable, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a worthy sequel sure to entertain anyone who’s ever owned a pet. It’s a purrfect, tail-wagging good time.
MPAA Rating: PG for some action and rude humor
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Running Time: 86 minutes
Directed By: Chris Renaud and Jonathan Del Val